Last Second Field Goal Lifts Cats to Win Over Northern Colorado - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Last Second Field Goal Lifts Cats to Win Over Northern Colorado

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Montana State made a furious second-half comeback that eventually led to the Bobcats converting on a 27-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Northern Colorado, 27-24, at Nottingham Field on Saturday. The Bobcats improved to 3-4 overall, and 3-2 in Big Sky Conference football play, with the victory over the Bears.
The Bobcats began their final drive on their own 17-yard line with 2 minutes, 42 seconds, remaining in the fourth quarter after Northern Colorado was unable to attempt a field goal due to a poor snap.
Tied at 24, Montana State opened the drive with two rushes for 13 yards by Troy Andersen and Chris Murray. After a false start penalty and two straight incompletions, the Bobcats faced third-and-15 at their own 25. Murray was able to connect with Kevin Kassis down the middle of the field and keep the drive alive with a 22-yard completion.
Murray continued to have success passing. He hit Mitchell Herbert for 6 yards, completed another for 18 to Kassis, then found Herbert along the sideline for 8 to put MSU at the Northern Colorado 29.
Following an incompletion on second down, Murray took a quarterback keeper behind the left side of his offense line for 12 yards down to the 9-yard line. He rushed the ball on the next play to the middle of the field at the 10-yard line and MSU called timeout with three seconds to go. Northern Colorado called one timeout to ice Bobcat kicker Gabe Peppenger, but it didn't make a difference.
Peppenger hit the field goal through the uprights and Montana State earned its second conference victory on the road this season.
Montana State trailed 21-7 heading into the second half. The Bears had rattled off two consecutive touchdowns after the Bobcats had tied it at 7-7 in the second quarter on a six-yard touchdown reception by Herbert.
The Bobcat defense hit its stride in the third quarter to keep MSU within striking distance.
Northern Colorado gained only eight yards in the third quarter and the Bobcats cut the deficit to 21-10 with their first offensive drive of the half ending with a 20-yard field goal by Peppenger.
MSU took the ball over with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter and opened the final quarter by completing a 5-play, 69-yard drive with Andersen running it into the end zone from 15 yards to cut the Bears' lead to 21-17.
The Bears' third consecutive three-and-out gave the ball back to the Bobcats with 12:24 remaining at their own 6. Montana State followed the defensive stop with its best offensive series of the game to that point.
MSU marched down the field 94 yards over 10 plays, which featured two completions to Herbert for a combined 49 yards, and was capped by a four-yard rushing touchdown by Murray. That gave the Bobcats a 24-21 lead, their first of the game.
A 56-yard kickoff return by Northern Colorado's Hakeem Deggs set the Bears up to tie it at 24 behind Collin Root's 34-yard field goal at the 6:05 mark. The MSU offense stalled on its ensuing drive, but the Bobcats took advantage after the Bears' final drive ended at 57 yards with the failed field goal attempt.
The Bobcats owned the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 39:36. They also outgained Northern Colorado in total yards (519-259), rushing yards (297) and passing yards (222-218)
Sophomore quarterback Chris Murray went 20-for-35 passing and threw for 222 yards. He was picked off twice, but accounted for two total touchdowns. He led the Bobcats on the ground by rushing for 150 yards, while Andersen (75) and Logan Jones (31) were the next top contributors.
Herbert picked up his third touchdown catch of the season and hauled in a team-high six passes for 105 yards receiving. Kassis and Jabarri Johnson each recorded five receptions with the two combining for 109 yards receiving.
Mac Bignell and Josh Hill each recorded six tackles apiece for the Montana State defense. Tyrone Fa'anono and Derek Marks each had five tackles. Bignell, Fa'anono, Marks, Tucker Yates and Bryce Alley all registered tackles for loss.
The Bobcats return to Bobcat Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 28, and host the Idaho State Bengals. Kickoff for the annual Cap on Cancer game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.