Montana State tops Stephen F. Austin 43-35BOZEMAN, Mont. — Cody Kirk scored three touchdowns, including a 6-yard run with 2:26 remaining, to lift Montana State to a 43-35 win over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Cody Kirk scored three touchdowns, including a 6-yard run with 2:26 remaining, to lift Montana State to a 43-35 win over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.
The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter, but Kirk’s TD made it 40-35, and the Bobcats’ Steven Bethley intercepted a pass to set up Rory Perez’s 45-yard field goal with 31 seconds left. Kirk finished with a career-best 105 yards on 30 carries for Montana State, off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1978.
“I thought the defense did a great job,” Montana State coach Rob Ash said. “You don’t usually say that after giving up 35 points and some big numbers, but I really don’t care. The bottom line is the score at the end of the game.
“Our guys were fundamentally sound.”
Tanner Bleskin caught 10 passes for 180 yards, also career highs, for Montana State in a game played in a thick fog of smoke caused by nearby forest fires.
“Everybody is coming after us,” Bleskin said. “They mark Montana State on their calendar, so we know we’re going to get their best shot.”
Brady Attaway threw for 418 yards, a career high, and three touchdowns for Stephen F. Austin (1-2), with Cordell Roberson accounting for 10 receptions, 163 yards and a TD. Montana State held the Lumberjacks to 55 yards rushing and SFA was assessed 130 yards in penalties.
Montana State’s DeNarius McGhee threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
“This was a great challenge for us,” Kirk said. “It let us find out where we need to be. You’ve got to win games like this.”
Gus Johnson’s 4-yard run put SFA in front 29-28 early in the fourth quarter, but Kirk’s TD made it 34-29 Bobcats. Attaway’s 75-yard scoring pass to Roberson put the Lumberjacks ahead again 35-34 before Kirk scored his final TD.
“That was one heck of a football game and I think everybody really enjoyed it,” Stephen F. Austin coach J.C. Harper said.
“We got down there and settled for field goals, and they didn’t,” Harper said. “They did a really good when they got down to the red zone of being physical and running the football and getting it in the end zone.”