College Sports Journal
Bozeman, MT. — Two high-powered offenses clashed Saturday night as No. 3 seed Montana State hosted dangerous Stony Brook, but in the end, it was the MSU defense that lifted the Bobcats to a tight 16-10 victory.
After a missed field goal late in the game left Stony Brook with a chance to win by scoring a touchdown on its final drive, the Montana State defense forced a fumble that the officials needed video replay to sort out.
Originally ruled a sack, replay showed that Bobcat defensive end Caleb Schreibeis had hit the ball with his helmet to knock it out of Stony Brook quarterback Kyle Essington's grasp with 45 seconds to play.
Brad Daly recovered the ball to preserve MSU's 11th win of the season — the most for the Bobcats since they won the NCAA Division I Football Championship in 1984.
Montana State hosts Sam Houston State in a quarterfinal on Friday night in a rematch of last year's round of eight game in the Football Championship Subdivision that was won by SHSU.
NCAA-passing-efficiency-leader Essington, who missed last week's first-round win over Villanova with a deep thigh bruise, completed 10-of-19 passes for 122 yards and a four-yard touchdown to Kevin Norrell (five catches, 86 yards) after a Montana State turnover to make it 13-10 with 11:23 remaining, but the Seawolves could not get any closer.
Rory Perez hit three field goals for Montana State from 48, 21 and 45 yards, the last one extending the Bobcat lead to six points with 9:04 on the fourth-quarter clock.
But MSU stopped the next Stony Brook drive short on a key third-down play to force a punt and then came up big again on the final Seawolves' possession.
A 69-yard TD strike from DeNarius McGhee to Tanner Bleskin (four catches, 130 yards) put the Bobcats on the board near the end of the first quarter before the two teams traded second-quarter field goals to allow MSU to go to the break with a 10-3 edge.
"Our recipe for winning worked very good," Bobcats coach Rob Ash said. "We got ahead and stayed ahead, which maybe forced them to pass a little more."
McGhee finished 12 of 22 passing for 208 yards and ran for 75 yards on 18 carries.
"I was up against the biggest human I've ever seen in my life," Daly said of 6-foot-8, 345-pound Stony Brook tackle Michael Bamiro, who struggled to get leverage on the quicker Daly all night.
The Montana State defense held the Seawolves (10-3) to 123 yards rushing on 37 carries, well below their season average.
Walter Payton Award finalist and the NCAA's leading rusher Miguel Maysonet was held to 83 yards on 19 carries in his final college game. Iowa transfer Marcus Coker had just 56 yards on 12 rushing efforts for the Seawolves.The 11 wins are the most for the Bobcats since 1984.
Coker's totals give him 1,012 for the season as Stony Brook has two running backs with 1,000 yards for a third straight season.
The Stony Brook defense, led by 10 tackles from Cedrick Moore and a pair of sacks by Dante Allen, allowed only 144 yards of total offense in the second half, but were undone by three fumbles.
"You have to give Montana State a lot of credit," said Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore. "A couple of miscues in the red zone would have changed the scoreboard in our direction."