MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Torrey Thomas returned an interception 14
yards for a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining, capping Montana's
outstanding defensive effort in a 23-10 victory over Idaho State
Montana (7-1, 6-0 Big Sky), ranked second in NCAA Division I-AA,
held Idaho State to just 92 yards in total offense -- 46 passing and
46 rushing -- and seven first downs. The Bengals (2-6, 1-4) went
into the game averaging 404.6 yards in total offense -- best in the
league and eighth in I-AA.
"That's as great a defensive effort that has maybe ever been
put forward in our football stadium," said Montana coach Bobby
However, the offense had to settle for five field goal attempts,
connecting on three of them.
"We never really got going today," quarterback Josh Swogger
said. "Last week we were hitting on all cylinders, but this week
we were just inches away from making some great catches. That's a
credit to them."
Brady Green had 23 carries for 108 yards and Reggie Bradshaw
scored a touchdown for the seventh game in a row. Dan Carpenter
connected on field goals of 21, 40 and 41 yards while attempts from
33 and 42 yards were blocked by Geo Simmons.
"I got a hand on both field goals," Simmons said. "The way we
were lined up kind of confused them. I just got good gaps to go
Hauck said the Grizzlies weren't prepared for the lineups ISU
had on special teams.
"They had a couple wrinkles in that we hadn't seen on tape,"
Montana opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal by
Carpenter with 10:00 left in the first quarter.
Pogo Togafau blocked a Carpenter punt, giving the Bengals the
ball on the Montana 10. Two plays later Idaho State took a 7-3 lead
on a 4-yard run by Josh Barnett at the 6:47 mark. A 40-yard field
goal by Carpenter pulled the Grizzlies within 7-6 with 3:31 left in
the first quarter.
Simmons blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Carpenter with
13:20 left in the half. But on the next play, Dustin Dlouhy forced
Barnett to fumble and Montana took over at the ISU 20. Three plays
later the Grizzlies took their first lead, 13-7, on a 7-yard TD run
by Bradshaw with 11:47 left in the half.
"We've been talking all week about trying to play a full
game," said Dlouhy, who had five tackles, including two sacks.
"We haven't put together a game all year long where we played four
strong quarters. Today is something we're really proud of."
UM led 16-7 at halftime after Carpenter's 41-yard field goal at
the 6:53 mark.
Montana fumbled the opening kickoff in the second half, giving
the ball to the Bengals at the UM 24. Four plays later Jones kicked
a 38-yard field goal to pull ISU within 16-10 with 12:55 left in
the third quarter.
"I'm extremely proud of the effort our kids gave today," said
Idaho coach Larry Lewis. "I felt our kids came into this game and
really believed in each other."
Neither team scored for the next 27 minutes until Thomas grabbed
"We didn't perform well enough today to complement how our
defense played," said ISU quarterback Matt Gutierrez, a Michigan
transfer. He completed just 9-of-25 passes for 46 yards -- 198 yards
below his league-leading average. He ran for another 27 yards.
"They were getting after us pretty hard," said Gutierrez, who
was sacked four times. "They seemed to have some good defenses
called at certain times that worked well against what we had
Barnett had 10 carries for 22 yards -- 101 below his
league-leading average. Akilah Lacey, who averages 93 yards
receiving, had one catch for 11 yards for the Bengals.
Swogger completed 15 of 30 passes for 157 yards for Montana. His
leading receiver was Mike Ferriter with four catches for 62 yards.
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