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Montana State rallies for 24-10 victory over Weber St.

Montana State rallies for 24-10 victory over Weber St.

By Associated Press | Posted - Nov. 6, 2010 at 5:43 p.m.


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BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- Another close game, another win for Montana State.

The Bobcats scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- including 32- and 40-yard dashes by running back Orenzo Davis in the final 2:39 -- to rally past Weber State 24-10 on Saturday and remain tied for first place in the Big Sky.

Denarius McGhee put Montana State (8-2, 6-1) ahead 10-7 with a 13-yard scoring toss to Tanner Bleskin with 10:03 to play, and Davis gave the Bobcats an insurance touchdown with 2:39 remaining.

After Shaun McClain brought Weber State (5-4, 4-3) within seven with a field goal with 38 seconds remaining, Montana State recovered the onside kick. Davis then scored from 40 yards out on the first play to preserve the Bobcats' first perfect regular season at home (6-0) since 2005. Montana State moved into a tie with idle Eastern Washington (7-2, 6-1) with one game to play, at Montana on Nov. 20.

"Everybody knew it was a huge game," said Montana State coach Rob Ash, whose team reached eight wins in the regular season for the first time since 1984. "Everybody knew we couldn't win the championship if we didn't go win this game. It was exciting."

The Bobcats didn't give a sellout crowd of 14,267 much to cheer about for the first three quarters. They lost three fumbles, missed a field goal and trailed 7-3 when Weber State's Vaingamalie Tafuna scored from 16 yards out with 1:01 to play in the third quarter.

McGhee gave Montana State the lead for good when his scoring strike to Bleskin capped a 78-yard, eight-play drive. Weber State, which missed two field goals, lost its second fumble of the game with 4:04 to play, and three plays later Davis broke several tackles en route to his 32-yard TD and a 17-7 lead.

The Wildcats kept the game interesting when reserve quarterback Mike Hoke -- who entered the game after starter Cameron Higgins suffered an apparent sprained knee on the same drive -- passed and ran the team into position for McClain's field goal.

DeSean Thomas then caught Weber State's onside kick. Davis broke through the line untouched on the next play to preserve the Bobcats' third consecutive down-to-the-wire conference victory.

"I have a lot of confidence in this team," Davis said. "When it's a close game, I always feel like we're going to win."

Davis ran for 114 yards on 14 carries, including 80 yards in the fourth quarter. McGhee, the Big Sky's leading passer at 275.2 yards per game, was 23 for 36 for 325 yards and a touchdown.

Higgins was 23 for 32 for 229 yards before leaving with his injury.

"It was a hard-fought game," Weber State coach Ron McBride said. "Both teams played extremely well, extremely hard. They ended up making more plays than we did when it counted. We had our opportunities, and we didn't get done what we needed to get done."

Montana State rolled up 478 yards in total offense, its ninth game this season with more than 400 yards. Weber State had 451.

A victory over Montana on Nov. 20 would give the Bobcats the Big Sky's automatic berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Eastern Washington plays a non-conference game Saturday against Southern Utah and finishes Big Sky play at home against last-place Idaho State on Nov. 20.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Associated Press

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