Live coverage: Montana State No. 4 visits northern Colorado | MSU Bobcats

GREELEY, Colo. — The No. 4-ranked Montana State football team travels to northern Colorado. Saturday’s Big Sky Conference game kicks off at 1 p.m.

Pregame

The Bobcats (5-1, 3-0 Big Sky) are without their top two safeties. First stringer Rylan Ortt has still not been reinstated after his six-game suspension for failing a drug test, while replacement Rhedi Short (who started in Ortt’s place all season) is injured in the leg, MSU announced before the game. Kendric Bailey will start.

Otherwise, nearly all of the pre-season first-string Bobcats are active. Tommy Mellott will start at QB after missing the last two games with a concussion, and Lane Sumner is listed as the first-string running back in his second game after a dislocated left elbow. USA running back Isaiah Ifanse is still recovering from knee surgery.

UNC (2-4, 1-2) is missing linebacker David Hoage, a 2021 third-team All-American.

UNC hasn’t beaten MSU since 2007, when the Bears won 16-13 in the Cats’ opener at Nottingham Field. MSU has won the last five games at Greeley. Saturday’s game is MSU’s first at Nottingham since 2019, when it went 45-14.

first quarter

MSU opened the scoring with a 52-yard field goal from Blake Glessner at 11:40 of the quarter. The kick came one play after Willie Patterson dropped a pass from Mellott on a tilt and two plays after Mellott knocked Patterson down on a road out.

UNC took a 7-3 lead on a 58-yard run by Sacramento State transfer Elijah Dotson with 10:31 left in the quarter.

With about five minutes on the clock, MSU starting right tackle Marcus Wehr left the game with an injury. His left leg was wound on a run from Sean Chambers, and Wehr needed help off the field. The Billings Central graduate emerged from the injured tent on crutches and was carried off the sideline.

SCORE: Northern Colorado 7, State of Montana 3

second quarter

MSU defensive end Brody Grebe was sent off for targeting UNC quarterback Dylan McCaffrey around 1:00 p.m. in the quarter. Grebe was penalized for roughing up the setter on a fourth down run, allowing UNC practice to continue. The Bears capped it off with a 9-yard pass from McCaffrey to Noah Ford with 12:30 left in the half to make it 14-3.

The Cats responded with a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard TD pass from Mellott to RJ Fitzgerald. It was Fitzgerald’s first career tally and his third overall (all season). The score was set by a 44-yard pass from Mellott to tight end Derryk Snell.

UNC attempted a false field goal on MSU’s 27-yard line with 4:16 left in the half, but starter Alec Lewis’ pass to Devin Bale came within yards of the first scorer. James Campbell and Danny Uluilakepa combined for the save.

MSU capped off the ensuing drive with a 16-yard pass from Mellott to Patterson at 1:55 to give the Cats a 17-14 lead. Patterson won a battle for the ball with UNC’s Cameron Murray.

Cats starting right guard Cole Sain was injured on the drive after being hit low. He grabbed his dying right leg and needed help off the pitch, but was able to move on his own after receiving an ice pack stuck around his right knee.

The Cats outscored the Bears 247-235 in total yards on six fewer plays during the half. Mellott completed 7 of 11 passes for 134 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers, and he rushed four times for 31 yards. Patterson had three catches for 68 yards and Sumner led MSU with 43 yards on nine carries.

SCORE: Montana State 17, Northern Colorado 14

Third quarter

MSU took a 24-14 lead on a 37-yard pass from Mellott to Patterson with 12 minutes left in the quarter. The catch-and-run put Patterson above 100 receiving yards for the first time this season and in his career. His previous career-high in a game was 65 yards last year, and his previous-season high was 63 against UC Davis on Oct. 1.

Patterson scored 30-14 on a 26-yard pass from Chambers at 9:08. Glessner’s extra point attempt was blocked.

SCORE: Montana State 30, Northern Colorado 14

Fourth trimester

With 4:33 to go, Nolan Askelson pressured McCaffrey and forced an incompleteness on fourth down, returning the ball to MSU in UNC territory still up 30-14.

The first turnover of the game came with 3:24 to go. Sebastian Valdez pressured McCaffrey and forced a stray pitch, which Ty Okada caught for his first interception of the season. This put the Cats at the UNC 21-yard line.

Chambers scored his 16th ground TD of the season with 1:16 on the clock.

FINAL SCORE: Montana State 37, Northern Colorado

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