(Editor’s note: Montana State release)
BOZEMAN – Tucker Rovig threw three touchdown passes and Isaiah Ifanse rushed for 146 yards as Montana State trounced Wagner 47-24 on Saturday afternoon in Bobcat Stadium.
The Bobcats dominated every facet of the game in closing out the non-conference portion of their schedule. Putting the frosting on the cake was a 57-yard touchdown run by Troy Andersen in the fourth quarter that accounted for the final points of the game.
The Bobcats opened the second half just as they closed the first half, a touchdown pass from Rovig to Kevin Kasis. This one, which covered 29 yards, gave MSU a 37-21 lead. Kasis caught a 10-yard scoring toss from Rovig to end the first half making it 30-21 at halftime.
A long kickoff return by Denzel Knight set up Wagner’s second touchdown of the game, this one an 18-yard dash by Ryan Fulse that made it 14-all. Fulse totaled 181 rushing yards on the day. The Bobcats regained the lead on a 39-yard field by Tristan Bailey moments later. In the second quarter, Ifanse ripped off a 73-yard gallop to make it 23-14. Bailey also converted a 27-yarder in the third quarter.
Rovig, making his second straight start at quarterback, completed 23 of 34 passes for 310 yards while Ifanse scored once on the ground and once on a reception. Kasis hauled in nine passes for 126 yards and the two touchdowns, while Ifanse picked up another 72 yards on five catches.
After seeing its streak of 42 straight games with over 100 yards rushing end in last week’s loss at South Dakota State, the Bobcats renewed the run to the century mark, finishing with 246 yards on the ground on Saturday, to the delight of the 18,057 in attendance.
The small FCS college from Staten Island, NY, was no match for the Bobcats who improved their season mark to 2-1 while Wagner fell to 1-2. The game marked the season debut of big Tyler Natee, the 260-pound transfer from Indiana. Natee entered the game on MSU’s first possession and rumbled for a first down on a fourth down call. On his second carry, he danced his way into the end zone from the 4-yard line that gave MSU a 14-7 after one quarter.
Wagner got on the scoreboard first as Knight returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.
Rovig completed his first three attempts before fumbling the ball away at the Wagner 15-yard line on MSU’s first drive. The Bobcats held, and after a short punt by Wagner, the game was tied 7-7 when Rovig connected with Ifanse from 27 yards out. It marked the first touchdown for Ifanse, a true freshman from Bellevue, Wash.
MSU starts Big Sky play next week at Portland State before returning home Sept. 29 versus Eastern Washington. Bobcat coach Jeff Choate paced the sidelines as usual, just a few days after having his appendix removed in an emergency operation.