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Montana State hangs on for 49-42 Big Sky Conference victory over Cal Poly

Posted at 7:00 PM, Nov 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-04 01:42:22-05

Isaiah Ifanse scored three touchdowns and rushed for over 200 yards as Montana State snapped a two-game losing streak with a 49-42 victory over Cal Poly on a chilly but dry Saturday afternoon inside Bobcat Stadium.

Ifanse rambled for 227 yards on 22 carries, scoring on runs of 74, 29 and 28 yards, for the Bobcats, who improved to 5-4 for the season and 3-3 in Big Sky games.

Despite 215 yards rushing by Joe Protheroe, his seventh consecutive 100-yard game rushing and 21st in his Mustang career, including four 200-yard performances, Cal Poly fell to 3-6 and 2-4.

Trailing 28-14 at halftime, Cal Poly fumbled the ball to Montana State twice in the opening four minutes of the third quarter. Both were converted into touchdowns and a 42-14 Bobcat lead. The Mustangs never got closer than the final margin the rest of the way.

Protheroe ran for 215 yards on 36 carries, moving past James Noble into third place on Cal Poly’s all-time career rushing chart. With two games remaining for the senior fullback, Protheroe has accumulated 1,549 yards this season and 3,828 for his Mustang career.

He needs six yards to catch No. 2 Antonio Warren and 377 yards to claim the school career rushing record of 4,205 yards held by Craig Young (1996-99). Protheroe also is within reach of the single-season rushing mark of 1,578 yards set by Noble in 2005, needing just 30 yards.

Protheroe scored on a pair of two-yard runs in the first half, but Montana State scored on each of its first three possessions of the game and Cal Poly was playing catchup the rest of the way.

Montana built its 28-point third-quarter lead on a 17-yard run by Joe Logan, a 51-yard run by Troy Andersen, a three-yard run by Travis Jonsen and Ifanse’s third touchdown runs.

Cal Poly’s second-half scores after falling behind 42-14 were an 18-yard pass from Jenkins to a wide-open Malcolm Davis in the back of the end zone and a six-yard run by Jenkins. It was Davis’ first career scoring catch.

The Bobcats moved back ahead by 21 points, 49-28, on a 49-yard run by Andersen in the fourth quarter.

Protheroe scampered 70 yards to surpass the 200-yard mark and set up another Cal Poly score, a five-yard run by Jenkins with 6:11 to play. He scored again on a two-yarder with six seconds left, but Montana State recovered the onside kick to clinch the win.

Jenkins added a season-high 138 yards on 30 carries, scoring a career-high three times, as the Mustangs amassed 369 yards on the ground. The Mustangs entered the game No. 5 in the Football Championship Subdivision in team rushing.

Jenkins completed five of 15 passes for 92 yards and one score. Koski made three of the catches.

For Montana State, in addition to Ifanse’s 227 yards, Andersen added 104 yards on just seven carries. Anderson also completed seven of 10 passes for 54 yards and Kassis had six of the receptions.

Defensively, Joey Ruiz, substituting for the injured Matt Shotwell, made a team-leading nine tackles and Nik Navarro added eight tackles for Cal Poly. Navarro had the lone Mustang sack and also forced a Bobcat fumble recovered by Myles Cecil.

Brayden Konkol notched 14 tackles for Montana State and Grant Collins added 10.

Although Cal Poly had the ball on offense for 9 1/2 more minutes, Montana State built a 507-461 advantage in total offense. A total of 799 of the 968 yards of total offense by the two teams combined were on the ground.

Cal Poly was 13 of 20 on third downs and converted both of its fourth-down plays.

The Mustangs play their final two games of the 2018 season at home, hosting Idaho State next Saturday and Southern Utah on Nov. 17. Both games kick off at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Provided by Cal Poly