OGDEN — The fifth-ranked Montana State Bobcats, who have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Weber State and eight straight in Ogden, continued their dominance over the Wildcats with a 34-16 win Saturday afternoon at Stewart Stadium.
WSU's last home win in the series came in 1996, but the home team wouldn't go down without a fight.
After MSU (5-2) scored a 35-yard touchdown on its opening drive, Bo Bolen broke out for a 42-yard run to set up a 50-yard field goal from Shaun McClain to put Weber State (1-7) on the board. McClain is the first Wildcat to make a 50-yard field goal since Joe Johnson back in 2005.
Weber State got a quick three-and-out from its defense, and Bolen found a few holes and shed some tackles as he darted 19 yards to the house, giving the Wildcats their first lead since their home opener against Stephen F. Austin on Aug. 31.
Just a week after MSU limited NAU to just 26 rushing yards, Bolen ran all over the Bobcats, tallying 124 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries to power the purple and white.
"We had some nice runs on that first drive and we got the ball to Bo (Bolen) and our offensive line showed up tonight," said head coach Jody Sears. "That's what we did against Stephen F., that's why we had success, we ran the ball. For us to have success, we've got to be able to do both (pass and run)."
The Wildcats have struggled all year in the second quarter, and their second-quarter woes continued Saturday as the Bobcats came back and scored 13 unanswered points to take a 19-10 lead at the break.
Montana State's second score of the quarter came after Bolen and quarterback Austin Chipoletti had some difficulty exchanging the football and Bolen fumbled on the 39-yard line, setting up Brian Flotkoetter's 35-yard touchdown with 5:41 left in the half.
"We practice turnovers every day," said quarterback Chipoletti. "It's just not acceptable. We'll go back and watch film and see what happened. We can't have that happen."
DeNarius McGhee became just the third player in Big Sky history to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in his career after hooking up with Flotkoetter in the back of the end zone.
Chipoletti and wide receiver Erik Walker continued their season-long connection, as Walker caught nine passes for 106 yards to lead the ’Cats, including a 41-yard bomb in the third quarter that set up Chipoletti's one-yard rushing touchdown.
"Erik is Mr. Do It Right," said Chipoletti. "He's going to be in the right spot at the right time. I have faith in Erik, and he's my go-to-guy."
The Wildcats' first big mental lapse of the night came right after Chipoletti rushed for a touchdown as Brad Daly managed to block the PAT and Steven Bethley ran it back for the defensive two-point conversion, the first one in Stewart Stadium history.
Weber State's mental mistakes continued as it charged right back down field after Josh Booker made a couple of big plays, but once again, coughed the ball up on the 22-yard line to give the ball back to the Bobcats.
The gold and white went 80 yards on four plays in just 1:36, and Shawn Johnson's nine-yard touchdown run with just 9:38 remaining in the game put the dagger in the hearts of the home team as MSU took a commanding 28-16 lead.
With just 7:20 left in the game, Chipoletti's interception cued the crowd to head for the exits as the Bobcats took over at midfield and headed toward the end zone with the clock winding down and the Wildcats' window of opportunity slamming shut. MSU's final touchdown put the final score at 34-16.
"I think you saw a lot of growth," added Sears. "That's a good football team. There are no moral victories and we've got to keep pressing on, but the kids came in today and played like they practiced. I think we saw a glimpse of what is to come."
The Wildcats have a bye next week and will return to action Nov. 2 at Portland State. The next home game will be Nov. 9 against in-state rival Southern Utah.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012. Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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