BOZEMAN — Fourth-ranked Montana State put together another big rushing performance — and Sean Chambers continued his prolific touchdown pace — on the way to a 37-6 homecoming victory over Idaho State on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.
MSU’s offense, which came in averaging 296.4 rushing yards per game, put up 255 yards on the ground against the Bengals. Running back Lane Sumner returned from injury and had 100 of those yards. Chambers finished with three rushing touchdowns (giving him 15 through six games) while Elijah Elliott added 68 yards.
The Bobcats trailed 6-0 after ISU’s first possession, which resulted in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Sagan Gronauer to Chedon James. But MSU reeled off 34 points before halftime to take control.
The win was MSU’s 16th in a row, which matched a school record and extended the longest active streak in the nation.
Of note, Idaho State head coach Charlie Ragle left the game for what was described as a medical emergency. Special teams coach Edgar Weiser took over as the acting head coach. Weiser told MTN Sports at halftime that Ragle was on his way back to Pocatello with his family.
Turning point: In the first quarter, Bobcats defensive back James Campbell intercepted his second pass in as many weeks, five plays later Chambers was in the end zone on a 4-yard run to put MSU ahead 14-6.
Chambers fumbled on the play prior to his TD, but the ball was recovered by Treyton Pickering to keep the drive intact. Chambers scored two more touchdowns on the ground later in the first half, and the Cats had a 34-6 advantage at intermission.
Stat of the game: Montana State’s defense finished with six takeaways. Campbell’s interception was the first, then Level Price Jr. and Ty Okada each recovered fumbles that were forced by David Alston and Callahan O’Reilly. O’Reilly and Jeffrey Manning each had interceptions in the third quarter. The Bengals also coughed up the ball on the final play of the game, a fumble that was forced by Nolan Askelson and recovered by Price.
Bobcat game balls: RB Lane Sumner (offense). Back in the lineup, Sumner bolstered what has been a depleted running back group with an even 100 yards. It was the Huntley Project alum’s second 100-yard game of the season.
LB Callahan O’Reilly (defense). O’Reilly led the Bobcats with nine tackles and was directly responsible in two of MSU’s six takeaways, as he forced a fumble and intercepted a pass in the third quarter.
PK Blake Glessner (special teams). Glessner made three field goals, but notably was perfect on his attempts of 40-plus yards. Glessner hit a 40-yarder at the end of the first half and connected on a 48-yarder in the fourth. He had a 26-yarder blocked in the fourth quarter.
What’s next: The Bobcats, now 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league, will continue their Big Sky Conference schedule next Saturday when they travel to Greeley, Colorado, to face Northern Colorado. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
Montana State has won nine in a row against UNC, including five straight at Nottingham Field.