BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- Montana State put together a 92-yard
scoring drive with nine minutes remaining to rally for a 20-17
upset of North Dakota State on Saturday.
"We were determined to drive the field," said MSU quarterback
Travis Lulay, who passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns. "When
we had our backs against the wall we made plays."
No. 8 NDSU (3-1) took a 17-13 lead on a 2-yard TD run by Kyle
Steffes with 9:13 remaining.
MSU (2-2), ranked 18th in NCAA Division I-AA, had its kickoff
return to the 42-yard line nullified on a blocking penalty, leaving
the Bobcats to start their drive on the 8-yard line.
They used a no-huddle offense and Lulay passed for 45 yards and
rushed for 27 more on the final 15-play drive, setting up a 1-yard
touchdown run by Justin Domineck with 1:41 remaining.
Lulay "knows how to make fourth-quarter comebacks," said
receiver Rick Gatewood, who had nine catches for 77 yards,
including three for 33 in the final drive. "We'd have gone 99
yards if we had to."
Lulay ran 17 yards on a first-and-10 from the 22, avoiding two
tacklers to get the ball to the 5-yard line. He tried to dive into
the end zone two plays later, but was held up at the 1. Domineck,
who rushed just four times for three yards, ran in for the game
The Bobcat defense held NDSU on its final drive, including
incomplete passes on its final two plays. The loss ended a six-game
winning streak for the Bison.
"We stopped them at the end, that's what matters," said Daryl
Rogers, who had a pass breakup on NDSU's final drive.
MSU ended its five-game losing streak to nationally ranked I-AA
"Both teams ended up grappling, wrestling and clawing," said
MSU coach Mike Kramer. "We just ended up grappling, wrestling and
Montana State took a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard pass from Lulay to
Gatewood, who was playing his first game of the season after
serving a three-game suspension for eligibility reasons. Gatewood's
TD was his first reception of the game.
Steffes, NDSU's workhorse, tied the score on a 2-yard run early
in the second quarter after rushing 47 yards in the 14-play drive.
He carried the ball a career high 33 times for 117 yards and two
touchdowns. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry, just about half his
season average of 6.2 coming into the game.
"Montana State's the type of defense where they're not going to
give up big plays," said NDSU coach Craig Bohl.
MSU went up 13-7 with 29 seconds left in the half when Lulay hit
Tramaine Murray on a 42-yard pass play. Murray bobbled the catch
while avoiding a defender, got control of the football and ran in
for the score.
"The way I caught the ball, I gave myself a second chance,"
said Murray, who had four catches for 78 yards.
The extra point attempt was blocked by Scott Walter.
NDSU got within 13-10 on a 36-yard field goal by Cory Vartanian,
who missed a 45-yarder with 2:28 left in the half. The Bison had to
settle for the long field goal after being penalized a total of 25
yards for a personal foul and holding on one play that left them
with a second-and-31 from the MSU 45.
"When you play against a good team on the road and get that
many penalties, it's tough sledding," Bohl said.
NDSU quarterback Steve Walker completed 16-of-29 passes for 195
yards, including six passes for 89 yards to Kole Heckendorf.
Prior to the loss to MSU, the Bison had given up only 14 points
in three games.
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