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Big Sky roundup: Chris Murray leads Montana State over Portland State

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 7, 2017, 10:50 p.m.

Montana State running back Troy Andersen runs the ball against Portland State  on Oct. 7, 2017, in Bozeman. (Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez / AP)
Montana State running back Troy Andersen runs the ball against Portland State on Oct. 7, 2017, in Bozeman. (Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez / AP)
Associated Press

Chris Murray ran for two touchdowns and the Montana State defeated Portland State 30-22 in Bozeman, Montana.

The Bobcats (2-3, 2-1) scored on their first possession of the second half and the Vikings’ following possession to break the game open.

Murray’s second touchdown, a 5-yard run, capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive on the ground. Then PSU punter Hayden Cowden dropped the snap in the MSU end zone and Chad Kanow recovered for another MSU touchdown and a 23-7 lead.

Murray, who was only 2 of 9 passing in the windy conditions, ran for 126 yards on 18 carries and threw a key block to spring Justin Paige on a 23-yard TD run on a reverse midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Josh Kraght hit Charlie Taumoepeau for a 26-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and a 24-yarder with 1:21 to play for the Vikings (0-5, 0-3). Kraght was 28 of 52 for 317 yards despite the cross wind.

Cowden was averaging just 29.0 yards per punt before his miscue in the end zone. He also had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter. MSU’s Jared Padmos went with a roll punt and averaged 43.8.

Montana 39, Idaho State 31: Gresch Jensen threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns and the Montana defense had six sacks to help the Grizzlies beat the Bengals in Pocatello.

Jeremy Calhoun had 15 carries for 90 yards and his twin brother Justin Calhoun three reception for 86 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown, for Montana (4-2, 2-1). Jesse Sims, a redshirt sophomore who came in with two career sacks, had 2 1/2 on Saturday.

Ty Flanagan scored on a 4-yard run to give Idaho State (3-3, 1-2) a 28-19 lead, but on Montana’s next play from scrimmage Gresch connected with Samori Toure for a 71-yard completion to set up a Samuel Akem’s 4-yard scoring catch – the second of four straight touchdown drives by the Grizzlies.

Idaho State’s Tanner Gueller was 25-of-40 passing for 359 yards and three touchdowns and his brother, Mitch Gueller, had nine receptions for 188 yards, including touchdowns of 75 and 13 yards. Mitch Gueller came in with eight catches in three games played this season.

Montana scored on all of its five trips in the record zone and is 27 of 27 this season.

Southern Utah 20, Cal Poly 14: Patrick Tyler threw for 223 yards and a touchdown and the Thunderbirds rolled to a victory over the winless Mustangs in Cedar City, Utah.

Tyler was 23-of-30 passing and connected with Terrance Beasley on a 26-yard touchdown that stretched Southern Utah’s lead to 17-7 early in the second quarter. Earlier, Jay Green had a 55-yard touchdown run with 4:36 left in the first quarter to put the Thunderbirds (3-2, 1-1) on top for good.

Manny Berz had 26- and 38-yard field goals for Southern Utah.

Cal Poly (0-6, 0-3) took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter with a 73-yard touchdown run by Kyle Lewis, and Broc Mortensen ran in a TD from the 5 with 4:46 to play.

Southern Utah went three-and-out on its next possession, but the Mustangs failed to convert on fourth-and-3 from their own 44.

Jared Mohamed rushed for 135 yards on 29 carries for Cal Poly, which has lost seven in a row, dating to last season.

North Dakota 48, Northern Colorado 38: Keaton Studsrud threw for 248 yards and a touchdown, Travis Toivonen ran for two scores, and The Fighting Hawks edged out the Bears to end a three-game skid before a Homecoming crowd in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The lead changed seven times before Reid Taubenheim kicked a go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter after the Bears made a goal-line stand. Toivonen capped the scoring on a 5-yard reverse.

North Dakota (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) held the Bears to 18 yards rushing, while churning out 314 yards on the ground, led by Brady Olivera’s 107 yards on 17 carries and Studsrud’s 97 on 10.

Down 28-7 after James Johannesson’s 4-yard TD run, the Bears rallied with 17 straight points. After a field goal, Khairi Bailey returned a fumble 25 yards for a score after Luke Nelson sacked Studsrud. Torrey Hunt recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and three plays later Anthony Davis scored on a 1-yard run to close to 28-24 at halftime.

Trae Riek’s 10-yard TD run put the Bears up 31-28 in the third quarter, but the Fighting Hawks tied it with a field goal. John Santiago’s 2-yard TD run put North Dakota up 38-31, but the Bears tied it on third-and-goal with Conor Regan’s 9-yard TD pass to Hakeem Deggs on the ensuing drive.

Jacob Knipp and Regan combined for 313 yards passing with two interceptions for Northern Colorado (2-3, 1-2).

Northern Arizona 37, Illinois State 16: Case Cookus threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns and caught a pass for another score as the Lumberjacks stunned the previously unbeaten Redbirds in Flagstaff, Arizona.

With the score knotted at 6-6 in the second quarter, Cookus moved the Lumberjacks (3-2) 75 yards in seven plays and capped the drive with a 32-yard scoring strike to Elijah Marks with 29 seconds left to give NAU a 13-7 halftime lead. On their first possession of the second half, Cookus drove the Lumberjacks 80 yards in five plays and connected with Wallace Gonzalez from 21 yards out for a 20-7 lead. NAU stretched the lead to 27-6 when Cookus caught a pass from Chance Brewington for a 23-yard score. Cookus added his final scoring pass in the fourth quarter, connecting with Cory Young from 23 yards out.

It was the third straight win for the Jacks, who beat a Missouri Valley Conference opponent for the first time since 2013.

Illinois State (4-1) had only allowed three touchdowns through its first four games and was the second-ranked defense in FCS in yards allowed at 166.5 per game. The Lumberjacks finished with 431 yards on offense, the fourth time in five game they’ve topped the 400 mark.

Sean Slattery kicked field goals of 32, 51 and 38 yards for the Redbirds.

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