Montana State squeaks past New Hampshire
Bozeman, MT – DeNarius McGhee rushed for 96 yards and two 25, in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
Cody Kirk rushed for 96 yards on 18 carries and Elvis Akpla had a big for the Bobcats (10-2), catching eight passes for 105 yards.
McGhee threw for 167 yards, one touchdown and three picks on 14-of-21 passing, while Tray Robinson caught a touchdown pass for Montana State, which moves on to play Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals next weekend.
Kevin Decker threw for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Wildcats (8-4) while Joey Orlando caught six passes for 91 yards and a score. Justin Mello added a touchdown grab for New Hampshire.
Trailing 26-19 with under a minute to play in regulation, Decker completed a 29-yard touchdown strike to Orlando to make it a one-point game, 26-25, but Mike MacArthur missed the extra point attempt that would have tied the game.
Montana State ran one final play to seal the close win.
New Hampshire opened the scoring on its first drive of the game, as Decker led an 11-play, 45-yard march. The Wildcats moved the ball down to the Montana State 14, but the drive stalled and they settled for a 36-yard field goal from MacArthur to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats upped their advantage to 10-0 late in the opening quarter when the defense came up with a big play. McGhee was intercepted by Matt Evans, who brought it back 58 yards for the touchdown.
Montana State got on the board on its first drive of the second stanza when McGhee led a seven-play drive down to the New Hampshire 24, where Jason Cunningham was good from 41 yards out to cut the margin to 10-3.
The Bobcats struck again on their next possession to make it 10-9, when McGhee connected with Robinson on an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine- play, 69-yard drive. The Wildcats came up with a good defensive play following the score, though, as they blocked the extra point try and returned it all the way back for a two-point conversion to make it 12-9.
Mello's 18-yard touchdown catch with just over three minutes to go before halftime gave the Wildcats a 19-9 lead, but Montana State responded with a two-yard touchdown run by McGhee with less than 30 seconds to play in the half to cut the deficit to 19-16.
After the break, McGhee ran for his second score of the day -- a 37-yard burst on second-and-5 --to give Montana State a 23-19 lead.
Cunningham nailed his second field goal of the day from 26 yards out to push the Wildcats' lead to 26-19 with just over 9 1/2 minutes to play.