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No. 3 Montana State uses strong second half to get past Portland State

Brody Grebe
Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-01 15:24:29-04

BOZEMAN — Sean Chambers had a hand in four touchdowns as No. 3 Montana State earned a 38-22 homecoming win over Portland State at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday.

PHOTOS: No. 3 MONTANA STATE DEFEATS PORTLAND STATE

Chambers, still taking all the snaps at quarterback while Tommy Mellott recovers from an injury, did most of his damage through the air. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, but he blew the game open with his legs.

Early in the third quarter with the Cats leading 17-14, Chambers broke free for an 88-yard touchdown run. He finished with 118 rushing yards on just four carries.

Analysis: Ben Creighton, Ty Gregorak break down MSU's 38-22 win over Portland State

Montana State's well-balanced rushing attack featured five different ball carriers. Jared White had 102 yards on 10 carries, Elijah Elliott 43 on five, Julius Davis 40 on eight and Marqui Johnson 12 on 1. Davis also had a rushing TD.

Chambers connected with seven different receivers with tight end Derryk Snell leading the way with five catches for 26 yards and two touchdowns.

Portland State quarterback Dante Chachere had 83 rushing yards and two TDs. He added 105 passing yards but threw two interceptions and was sacked five times. Brody Grebe had two sacks for the Bobcats, and McCade O'Reilly, Kenneth Eiden IV and Blake Hehl each had one. Rylan Ortt and Jon Johnson had MSU's interceptions.

Turning point: Halftime. Portland State got within 17-14 late in the second quarter with a long drive aided by three Montana State penalties — a roughing the passer, targeting and pass interference. The Bobcats forced a punt on the Vikings' first possession of the second half, and then Chambers broke free for his 88-yard touchdown run. MSU controlled the game from there, outscoring PSU 21-8 in the second half.

Stat of the game: Montana State averaged better than 10 yards per carry on the ground. The Bobcats finished with 313 yards on 30 attempts, including kneel-downs to end the game.

Bobcat game balls: QB Sean Chambers (Offense). Chambers has been outstanding leading Montana State's offense in Mellott's absence and continues to progress in the passing game. He threw two touchdowns on short completions to Snell, and threw a beautiful ball to Clevan Thomas Jr. for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

DE Brody Grebe (Defense). The Bobcat defense harassed Chachere all game with Grebe leading the way. The Melstone native had two sacks and was in on another tackle-for-loss. Grebe finished with six total tackles.

What's next: Montana State, which will likely be ranked second in the next STATS Perform FCS Top 25 Poll after No. 2 North Dakota State lost to South Dakota on Saturday, is idle next week. The Bobcats (4-1 overall, 2-0 Big Sky) next play on Oct. 14 when they host Cal Poly for a 6 p.m. kickoff.