MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana overcame four third-quarter
turnovers, numerous injuries and Cal Poly's 10 quick points early
in the second half for a wild 36-27 victory over the third-ranked
"We made a lot of mistakes. We were fortunate to beat a team of
that caliber," said Montana coach Bobby Hauck. "But the effort
level, how hard we played, made the difference. It was a great
football game -- fun to coach in, fun to play in and certainly fun
to watch. There were so many momentum changes. It was really a
roller-coaster ride in the second half."
Lex Hilliard rushed for a career high 237 yards and scored a
touchdown with 33 seconds remaining to lead Montana, ranked ninth
in NCAA Division I-AA.
Cal Poly (5-2) hasn't beaten Montana (5-2) in 10 tries.
Hilliard was held to 53 yards rushing in last week's loss to
Hauck said Montana's offensive line "took the fight to Cal
Poly," which had been giving up an average of 103 yards rushing
"Obviously, that's the kind of game that's fun to watch and
horrible to coach. I'm dying, you're enjoying it," said Cal Poly
coach Rich Ellerson.
"We've been so good in respect to turnovers and penalties. And
then they rushed for a gazillion yards. We haven't given up that
many yards ever. Any team I've ever been with. Since I've been
alive," he said.
The game included two do-over kicks, one that negated a fumble
on a return by Cal Poly after Montana had taken a 14-7 lead.
Another erased a missed field goal and led to three points for the
Cole Bergquist passed for 155 yards and touchdowns to Ryan
Bagley and J.R. Waller, who also scored on a rushing play for the
Anthony Garnett passed for 210 yards and two touchdowns to
Ramses Barden for Cal Poly, but suffered an apparently serious knee
injury in the final 30 seconds of the game. James Noble had 22
carries for 144 yards and Jonah Russell scored on a 10-yard run
with 5:08 left in the second quarter to tie the score at 14.
Montana took a 17-14 lead after a 27-yard field goal by Dan
Carpenter with 38 seconds left in the half.
Montana fumbled the first three times it touched the ball in the
second half. The fumble on the opening kickoff led to a field goal
by Nick Coromelas on his second attempt from 40 yards out.
The Grizzlies fumbled and recovered the second kickoff, but
receiver Mike Ferriter took a hard hit on Montana's first play from
scrimmage and fumbled, leading to Garnett's 39-yard touchdown pass
to Barden two plays later. Cal Poly led 24-17 with 12:16 left in
the third quarter. Barden finished with five catches for 125 yards.
Ferriter was knocked unconscious. He suffered a broken nose and
a possible concussion.
Bergquist was intercepted on two of Montana's next three
possessions -- by Kyle Shotwell and Courtney Brown -- but Cal Poly
couldn't capitalize. The Grizzlies tied the score at 24 when Tyson
Johnson scored on a 4-yard run on a fake field goal with 1:29 left
in the third quarter.
"You've got to be willing to take your shots," Hauck said.
"We're not timid in our play calling."
Johnson, who hadn't scored a touchdown in college, said the Griz
practiced the play all week.
"It's an option play, I'm supposed to pitch the ball. But the
defensive end was split between us, and I thought my best option
was to cut up and go in."
Cal Poly had to settle for a 41-yard field goal by Coromelas
with 12:26 remaining after being called for 20 yards worth of
penalties on a first-and-goal from the Montana 10. Cal Poly was
penalized 12 times for 104 yards -- four times their season average.
The Grizzlies went up 30-27 on a 6-yard run by Waller, but
Carpenter missed the extra point while security was dealing with a
streaker who had run the length of the field and was tackled on the
7-yard line. Johnson said he bobbled the snap.
An interception by Van Cooper Jr. and another pick by Torrey
Thomas ended Cal Poly's next two drives. Cooper's pick came after
the 5-foot-11 Wilson outjumped the 6-6 Barden in the end zone with
Thomas's pick on the Cal Poly 30 set up Hilliard's 21-yard
scoring run with 33 seconds remaining.
Montana defensive end Kroy Biermann was called for a personal
foul on the kickoff return and ejected from the game. He will be
ineligible for Montana's game next weekend against Portland State.
Garnett suffered the knee injury with about 22 seconds remaining
"I'm just sick," Hauck said. "He's a great player. It makes
me sick to think of him getting hurt with less than a minute left.
I went up to him after the game but I didn't even know what to say
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