[Vandal] Idaho Hangs With Montana State But Falls In Late Going

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Sun Nov 14 07:47:05 PST 2021


>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoSunday, November 14, 2021
Idaho Hangs With Montana State But Falls In Late Going
Third-ranked Bobcats beat Vandals on fourth-quarter TD
By Stephan Wiebe
Despite entering the game without its starting quarterback and playing the No. 3 team in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches’ top 25 poll at its own packed house, Idaho hung with Montana State until the waning moments Saturday at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Mont.
It took a short field — and a clock-eating, four-minute, 37-yard, go-ahead drive — for Montana State to escape with a 20-13 Big Sky victory.
MSU (9-1, 7-0 Big Sky) received one of its biggest tests from unlikely Idaho (3-7, 2-5) — a team that entered the game as 21.5-point underdogs and struggled mightily against teams of similar caliber, like No. 7 Eastern Washington and No. 9 Montana.
But the Vandals matched MSU’s physical style on each side of the ball and at times out-muscled the Big Sky’s beefiest bunch.But in the end, it wasn’t enough to take down the conference’s top dogs.
After starting a drive on its own 3-yard line with the game tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, Montana State escaped the danger zone and grabbed enough space to pin Idaho inside its own 10 on a 47-yard punt by Bryce Leighton.
>From there, the Bobcats forced a quick three-and-out. Idaho’s Caleb Lightbourn couldn’t find the same luck punting into the wind from his own end zone. The ball took a MSU bounce and the Bobcats took over with great field position at the Idaho 37.
MSU ran the ball eight consecutive times, eating up four minutes of clock before quarterback Tommy Mellott ran in from three yards out for his third touchdown of the day and a 20-13 lead after the extra point.
With only 2:13 left and no timeouts, Idaho couldn’t get anything going on its final drive. Quarterback Zach Borisch was sacked for the fifth time when the Vandals couldn’t get past their own 18 on their final series.
Borisch, who was playing on short notice, finished with 227 yards of total offense. He went 8-of-18 passing for 157 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 70 yards on 23 carries.
Idaho coach Paul Petrino said it wasn’t until two days before the game that the Vandals would be without starting quarterback Mike Beaudry. He declined to comment on the specific issue, instead deferring to the team’s athletic trainers.
With each team draining tons of clock with their run-heavy offenses, MSU built a 13-3 lead late in the second quarter.Idaho had 1:49 on the clock but it would need just 1:15 to find the end zone.
Borisch scrambled 29 yards on a broken play and hit Terez Traynor for a 30-yard touchdown on the next play to cut the lead to 13-10 heading into halftime.
The Vandals tied the game at 13 in the third quarter on a 46-yard field goal by Logan Prescott. It was a career day for the junior kicker, who also hit a 40-yarder earlier. He had not made a field goal longer than 29 yards going into the game and was 0-of-3 from 30-plus yards on the season.
Idaho held MSU to just 106 passing yards, but the Bobcats compiled 258 rushing yards behind a plethora of ball carriers. Starting running back Isaiah Ifanse — the second-leading rusher in the FCS — had a game-high 84 yards despite not playing in the second half because of an injury.
Mellott finished with 13 carries for 68 yards, also scoring touchdowns of 9 and 23 yards in the first half.
The win was the Bobcats’ ninth straight at home, its best mark since 2011. The school announced a sellout crowd of 17,000-plus for all six of its home games this season.
Idaho returns to the road for its final game at noon Saturday at Idaho State.
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING: Idaho, Za. Borisch 23-70, Ro. Johnson 12-40, El. Cummings 2-9, Au. Carter 1-1. Montana St., Is. Ifanse 9-84, To. Mellott 13-68, El. Elliott 6-49, La. Sumner 14-46, Wi. Patterson 1-11, Ma. McKay 3-2, De. Hosey 1-1, La. McCutcheon 1-(minus 1), Team 2-(minus 2).
PASSING: Idaho, Za. Borisch 8-18-0-157. Montana St., Ma. McKay 9-14-1-104, To. Mellott 1-2-0-2.RECEIVING: Idaho, El. Cummings 2-52, Te. Traynor 2-39, Me. Stevenson 2-33, Co. Whitney 1-25, Ro. Johnson 1-8. Montana St., La. McCutcheon 3-61, Na. Stewart 2-21, Is. Ifanse 1-15, Wi. Patterson 3-12, La. Sumner 1-(minus 3).
Montana State 20, Idaho 13
Stars of the game
Running quarterback TOMMY MELLOTT scored all three of Montana State’s touchdowns on the ground, finishing with 68 yards on 13 carries. Bobcats linebacker TROY ANDERSON compiled a game-high 17 tackles, and linebacker TRE WALKER had 11 for Idaho. Quarterback ZACH BORISCH paced the Vandal offense with 227 total yards and one passing touchdown to TEREZ TRAYNOR.
Turning point
After pinning Idaho inside its own 10-yard line, the stingy Montana State defense forced a three-and-out and took over with great field position at the Idaho 37. From there, the Bobcats pounded the ball eight straight times that ate up precious clock before scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run by Tommy Mellott to take a one-touchdown lead with more than two minutes left in the game. MSU used up almost four minutes on its short drive.
Up next
Idaho ends the season against Idaho State at noon Saturday in Pocatello.
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