BOZEMAN, Mont. - The third-ranked Montana State Bobcats had to rally late, and hold on to defeat No. 23 Stephen F. Austin Saturday, 40-35, in Bozeman, Mont. The loss dropped SFA to 1-2 on the season, and ended a six-game win streak against non-FBS schools.
The Lumberjacks cracked the scoreboard first when Brady Attaway connected with Mike Brooks on a 13-yard pass with 11:52 remaining in the opening quarter. Montana State tied the game just minutes later, but SFA regained the lead less than three minutes later when Jordan Wiggs converted a 33-yard field goal. The Bobcats closed out the quarter with a three-yard scoring strike from Denarius McGhee to Tray Robinson.
The Bobcats pushed their advantage to eight points when McGhee carried the ball in from 11 yards out. The scoring drive was kept alive when punter Rory Perez completed a pass on fourth and long.
SFA outgained the Montana State, 264-179, in the opening half but the Bobcats were aided by 10 Lumberjacks penalties.
MSU pushed its lead back to eight points when McGhee capped an eight-play, 98-yard drive with a 35-yard pass to Tanner Bleskin. SFA answered with a 33-yard field goal from Jordan Wiggs to cut the lead 28-23.
After trading interceptions, the Lumberjacks capitalize by finishing off a 10-play, 51-yard drive when Gus Johnsoncarried the ball in from four yards out. It was SFA's first lead since 5:14 of the first quarter. After MSU reclaimed the lead the Lumberjacks responded two plays later when Attaway connected with Cordell Roberson for a 75-yard scoring strike. The score gave SFA a one-point lead, 35-34, with 6:23 to play.
The Bobcats rallied again to take a 40-35 lead when Kirk scored on a tough run from four yards out, but MSU was unable to convert on the two-point try. The drive was aided by two personal fouls. SFA had one final crack at re-taking the lead but Montana State forced a turnover to put the game away.
Attaway finished the game completing 33-of-52 passes for a career-high 418 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Cordell Roberson who caught 10 passes for 163 yards and a score. Roberson's TD catch was the second longest of his career.
Freshman linebacker Collin Garrett led the 'Jacks defensive effort with a career-high 13 tackles, including five solo stops.
The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, Sept. 22, when they travel to San Marcos, Texas to take on Texas State. The game is slated to kickoff at 6 p.m. from Bobcat Stadium.
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