No. 2 Montana State Spoils Aggies' Upset Bid

Jordan Glass had a seven-yard interception for a touchdown.
 
Jordan Glass had a seven-yard interception for a touchdown.
 

Oct. 6, 2012

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DAVIS, Calif. - - Defensive tackle Zach Minter's interception near the goal line in the fourth quarter set up Tray Robinson's go-ahead touchdown as No. 2 Montana State survived a scare from upset-minded UC Davis with a 48-41 Big Sky Conference football win at Aggie Stadium on Saturday night.

UC Davis, which scored 24 unanswered points to turn a 31-14 halftime deficit into a 38-31 leading entering the fourth quarter, dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky. The Bobcats improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the league.

Minter's interception came off Randy Wright'sscreen pass attempt inside the Aggies' 10-yard line near the midway point of the fourth quarter. The Bobcats' defensive tackle rumbled to the 1 where Robinson scored his second touchdown three plays later, putting Montana State in front 45-41.

Trailing 48-41 with 2:23 to go, UC Davis took over at its own 29 looking for the equalizing touchdown. Highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Wright to Tim Benton, UC Davis drove to the Montana State 15. However, a holding penalty and a sack set up a fourth-down pass into the endzone that was knocked away by the Bobcats' Joel Fuller with 16 seconds left.

"If we have an identity, it's that we play hard all the time. It's the thing that I'm most proud of," said Aggie coach Bob Biggs. "Regardless of the score, they just fight. I thought we were very physical in the third quarter. We just had a lot of momentum going. The kids were playing with a lot of heart, kept believing and just came up short."

Wright completed 23 of 37 passes for a pair of touchdowns while receiver Anthony Sotohad seven grabs for 80 yards and a score. Glass led the Aggie defense with 11 tackles, 1.5 TFL's and his pick-six interception return.

UC Davis also held Montana State to just 67 rushing yards on 32 carries.

"Our coaches do a wonderful job of game-planning and our players do a great job of getting in the gaps," Biggs said. "I thought Coach (Mark) Johnson did a great job at dialing up pressures when he had an inkling that they were going to be running. We were able to keep them contained, (Orenzo) Davis in particular."

Davis, who finished with 71 yards on the ground, put the Bobcats on the scoreboard first with a 35-yard touchdown run nearly nine minutes into the game. UC Davis, though, took a 14-7 lead at the end of the quarter thanks to a Wright's acrobatic leap to cap a five-yard TD run, and Alex Cannon's13-yard reverse for another score.

Cannon's score was set up by Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee's fumble at the 19-yard line on the first play after Wright's score. It was the first of four turnovers for the Bobcats.

UC Davis led 14-10 midway through the second quarterback but Montana State scored 21 points over a five-minute span to go up 31-14. McGhee scored from a yard, Tanner Bleskin caught a three-yard TD pass and Darius Jones intercepted Wright and returned it 45 yards for another touchdown.

UC Davis, however, returned the favor in the third quarter, blitzing the Bobcats with 17 points over a less than three-minute span early in the quarter. Soto opened the scoring with a 26-yard TD reception while a fumble set up a 30-yard field goal from Brady Stuart.

Glass, delivered the tying score with 9:03 left in the third when he picked off McGhee at the 7 and raced in with his first interception of the year. The Aggie defense came up big again later in the quarter when linebacker Steven Pittsforced a fumble after Tiai Salanoa's catch, leading to Wright's 19-yard touchdown pass that made it 38-31.

"To be honest, we didn't really do much different from our game plan," said Biggs of the Aggies' halftime adjustments. "The reality is that we created turnovers. We got a lot of turnovers in the third quarter and capitalized on the turnovers and that made the difference. It ended up being a game of turnovers and whoever was going to capitalize was going to win this game."

Pitts finished with six tackles, broke up a pass and forced two fumbles while recovering another while Glass had eight solo stops among his game-high 13 tackles. Defensive tackle Kyle DeVaughnhad a nine-yard sack.

Linebacker Na'a Moeakiola led Montana State's defense with 12 tackles.

McGhee finished with 334 passing yards, was sacked once and eluded at least two more.

"You've got to give Montana State credit," Biggs said. "That quarterback (McGhee) is Houdini. There were times when I thought we had him and, next thing you know, he runs for a first down. Just one of those games, but I'm very, very proud of the way we played and fought.

UC Davis rushed for 108 yards, 45 more than Montana State's average. Colton Silvieria netted 35. Courtney Williamshad a 70-yard kickoff return that set up Stuart's field goal early in the fourth.

The Aggies will return to the road when they travel to face Idaho State next Saturday in Pocatello, Idaho. Kickoff is 3 p.m. (Pacific). The Bengals lost 77-10 at Portland State on Saturday.