Strong second half lifts Montana State past SDSU in FCS Semifinals

KELOLAND.com Original

BOZEMAN, MT (KELO) — SDSU’s run in the 2021 FCS Playoffs has come to an end, following a 31-17 loss to Montana State.

SDSU had the game’s first scoring opportunity, but came up empty as their fourth down conversion was stopped short by Montana State standout Troy Andersen.

On the ensuing drive, the Bobcats answered with a 64 yard touchdown pass from Tommy Mellot to Nate Stewart.

The 7-0 lead didn’t last long as SDSU walked down the field and fed Pierre Strong Jr. who took it 44 yards for the game tying touchdown.

That knotted the game at seven through one quarter.

Montana State answered on the ensuing drive as they drove down the field and got three points via a 27 yard field goal.

But the Jackrabbits kept coming. SDSU grabbed their first lead of the contest with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Chris Oladokun to Jadon Janke.

The first half theme of each team having big answers continued into Montana State’s next drive.

The Bobcats went 75 yards on five plays and did so in just two minutes and 33 seconds. The final play was a four yard touchdown by Mellot, handing the Bobcats a 17-14 lead.

As the first half clock expired, SDSU converted a 51 yard field goal by Cole Frahm to even the game at 17 as both teams headed to the locker room.

The theme of having big answers continued into the second half, but on the defensive side.

The first three drives of the half saw defensive stops.

That trend came to an end on the final play of the third quarter. Montana State took more than six minutes off the clock to grab the lead with a three yard touchdown run by Mellot.

Most good games are full of big answers by both teams and Saturday’s game clearly saw that, but could SDSU start the fourth quarter with their biggest drive of the season?

That answer was given just four plays into the drive as SDSU faced a third and 14 which led to an Oladokun interception.

The Bobcats followed that with a 17 yard touchdown pass from Mellot to Lance McCutcheon to build a 31-17 lead.

The Jackrabbits came up empty on their ensuing drive, but forced a three and out defensively to give their offense another chance.

SDSU drove all the way inside the Montana State twenty, giving themselves a chance, but they would come up empty on a fourth down incompletion intended for Jadon Janke.

That last missed opportunity would be enough as Montana State picked up the 31-17 win over SDSU.

Bobcat quarterback, Tommy Mellot, was nearly perfect in the game as he was 10-15 for 233 passing yards. He added 155 yards on the ground, while collecting four total touchdowns.

SDSU was led by quarterback Chris Oladokun who was 23-35 for 313 yards. He also had an interception and a touchdown.

Pierre Strong Jr. rushed for 94 yards and a score. Isaiah Davis was held to just 13 yards on nine carries.

The Jackrabbits finish the postseason with a 3-1 record. They conclude the year with an 11-4 record.

Montana State will play against North Dakota State in the FCS Championship on Saturday, January 8.

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