Denarius McGhee didn’t fret about his poorest quarter of the season, and neither did Montana State.
McGhee, a redshirt freshman who misfired on six of his eight first-quarter passes, rebounded by throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another as the Bobcats beat Portland State 44-31 in Big Sky Conference action Saturday at Bozeman.
McGhee completed 13 of his last 19 passes as the Bobcats overcame an 18-3 deficit. He threw scoring strikes of 40 yards to Everett Gilbert and 16 yards to C.J. Palmer before running for a 4-yard TD to put Montana State ahead for good, 23-18, with 48 seconds left in the first half.
“I was missing those throws, but we battled back,” said McGhee, who was 15 of 27 for 206 yards and ran for 71 yards on 11 carries. “It’s just a testament to this team that when things weren’t going right, no one was pointing fingers. We got a win, and that’s all that matters.”
Portland State looked as if it might send a Bobcat Stadium crowd of 15,227 – the fourth largest in school history and biggest for any game not involving archrival Montana – home unhappy.
After a 31-yard field goal by Zach Brown opened the scoring, Vikings junior quarterback Connor Kavanaugh hit senior tight end Julius Thomas on a 55-yard pass for an 11-0 lead.
Montana State answered with a 52-yard field goal by Jason Cunningham, but Kavanaugh raced 75 yards for a TD barely a minute later.
But then, McGhee took over.
“Have you ever sensed any urgency with him?” fourth-year Montana State coach Rob Ash said. “He’s the most level-headed kid out there.”
Montana 47, Idaho State 28: Chase Reynolds threw his first touchdown pass and later rushed for the school-record 54th TD of his career, helping the Grizzlies defeat the Bengals in Missoula.
Grizzlies QB Justin Roper threw for two TDs and caught the one from Reynolds as Montana won its third straight game.
Tavoy Moore scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Bengals, one on a 100-yard kickoff return and the other on an 85-yard punt return.
Sacramento State 42, Northern Colorado 7: Bryan Hilliard rushed for 133 yards and two TDs, and the Hornets broke the game open with special teams and defense in a victory over the Bears in Sacramento, Calif.
The Hornets struck in the third quarter.
Corey Vanderbeek blocked Cameron Kaman’s punt, and Randey Peterson returned the ball 3 yards for a TD. Later, defensive lineman Zack Nash caused QB Matt Baca to fumble, and David Coleman picked it up and ran 5 yards for a score and a 28-7 lead.
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