Story and photo courtesy of Montana State Athletics
In a game of crazy scoring runs, Montana State had the last, which boosted the Bobcats to an improbable 48-41 win at UC Davis on Saturday.
The Bobcats turned a 14-7 first quarter deficit into a 31-14 halftime lead, watched it disintegrate into a pair of UC Davis second half leads, then out-scored the Aggies 17-3 in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Zach Minter made perhaps the game's biggest play, intercepting a pass inside the UCD five-yard line and just missing a touchdown in the game's final 10 minutes. But Minter was more interested in crediting his teammates than accepting credit. “We believe in each other, we play for each other, and in the end we stayed strong and stayed resilient because of each other,” said MSU's All-America defensive tackle.
Minter's interception set up a one-yard Tray Robinson run, which gave MSU a 45-41 lead with 8:40 to play. The Bobcat defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession, then MSU held the ball for nearly five minutes on its next drive, resulting in a Rory Perez field goal and a 48-41 Bobcat lead.
The contest started innocently enough, with the teams trading early touchdowns. Orenzo Davis dashed 35 yards midway through the first quarter to give MSU a 7-0 lead, but the Aggies matched with a 17-yard Randy Wright touchdown run on the ensuing possession.
On MSU's next drive McGhee fumbled the snap and UC Davis converted on the first play, when receiver Alex Cannon scored on a 13-yard reverse for a touchdown. The Aggies led 14-7. Rory Perez nailed a 27-yard field goal to draw MSU to within 14-10.
At that point, the thunder struck. On a Randy Wright completion to T.J. King, Darius Jones stripped the football and Steven Bethley scooped it up and advanced it 14 yards to give MSU a short field. The Bobcats drove 29 yards with McGhee's one-yard run giving MSU the lead. The Bobcat defense stopped UC Davis, and McGhee engineered a 44-yard drive resulting in a short pass to Tanner Bleskin. Then, Darius Jones returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, to give MSU a 31-14 halftime lead.
But that lead was wiped out almost right away in the second half. UC Davis scored 17 points in the first six minutes to tie the game, then took the lead at the end of the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Randy Wright to Corey Gallindo.
Bobcat quarterback DeNarius McGhee threw for 334 yards on 27-for-41 passing, while Orenzo Davis rushed for 71 yards. UCD's Wright threw for 242 yards. Brad Daly led the Bobcat defense with eight tackles, two for a loss, one sack, and two pass breakups.