No. 3 Montana State flattens No. 10 Weber State in 40-0, both-sides domination
OGDEN — The only thing that went wrong for No. 3 Montana State on Saturday was place-kicking.
In every other way, the visiting Bobcats thoroughly thrashed No. 10 Weber State in the game’s first 30 minutes. By the time the Wildcats even feigned to get off the mat, the game was well in hand.
Montana State flexed its pedigree as a reborn FCS power as the Bobcats cruised to a 40-0 victory, leaving Weber State with questions about its own offense after suffering its first shutout against an FCS opponent since 2015 — and spoiling the grand opening of Stewart Stadium’s new east side in front of 10,905 fans in the process.
The Bobcats entered the game with the subdivision’s top scoring, yardage and rushing-yards offense. This game delivered all three — minus eight points left on the field from kicker Brendan Hall and the field-goal unit. Hall missed field goals to start and end MSU’s scoring chances in the first half, put a PAT off the upright and had another extra point blocked.
Otherwise, Montana State tallied big numbers in each area yet again. The tale of the tape: 40 points (came in averaging 45.3), 518 yards (averaged 514) and 346 rushing yards (averaged 317).
Weber State managed just 208 yards of offense on 70 plays. And, against an offense like MSU’s, that’s where WSU head coach Mickey Mental said the game was decided.
“The defense was on the field too much in the first half,” Weber State head coach Mickey Mental said. “So that’s on me. We’ve got to be better offensively to keep those guys off the field in the first half so they can play fresh throughout the game.”
WSU’s last shutout loss against an FCS team was a 44-0 decision to Southern Utah in 2015.
It’s Montana State’s first Big Sky shutout win since 2006, sending a signal for what it expects to do this season.
“Statement win,” MSU quarterback Sean Chambers said. “On the road? Statement.”
Julius Davis ran for 132 yards on just 14 carries for Montana State (3-1, 1-0 Big Sky). Chambers pulled all the right strings, rushing for more than 100 gross yards but landing at 86 net after taking three sacks — while passing 8 of 17 for 172 yards and two backbreaking touchdown passes.
Montana State cooked to the tune of 311 first-half yards and put the game away with a 20-0 halftime margin, but Chambers hit tight-end Trey Pickering for a 24-yard touchdown pass for good measure on the play after Weber State ran a fake punt at its own 17-yard line and failed. That made it 26-0 with 13:22 left in the game.
“When those guys are running outside zone at that clip and play-actioning naked off of that, it wears you down going sideline to sideline,” Mental said.
While Weber State improved its yards-per-half from 69 in the first to 139 in the second, the Wildcats barely threatened points. Its last shot at avoiding the shutout came with 10:13 left when MSU tackle Sebastian Valdez sacked WSU quarterback Kylan Weisser on a fourth-and-1 at the MSU 25. All three of WSU’s fourth-quarter possessions ended in turnovers on downs.
A Brayden Wilson sack of Chambers was negated when Wilson was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty, and Chambers later ripped a 33-yard run to set up Jared White for a 15-yard rushing TD to make it 33-0.
In the insult-to-injury category, Weisser threw a sideline rope to Jayleen Record on fourth-and-3 from the MSU 44, but it was well wide and left Record no chance to stay inbound with his catch. MSU running back Elijah Elliott gashed up the middle for a 56-yard touchdown on the next play for the final 40-0 score.
Pickering caught three balls for 83 yards. He opened the scoring on a 29-yard play-action pass, getting behind the defense to make it 7-0 at the 14:07 mark of the second quarter.
Weber State went three-and-out three straight times in the second quarter. In between, Chambers added touchdown runs of 10 and 29 yards to make it 20-0.
WSU technically crossed midfield for the first time prior to the final MSU touchdown, but running back Kris Jackson fumbled his first-down-gaining run across midfield trying to fight off Bobcats linebacker McCade O’Reilly.
Weber State (2-2, 0-1) wouldn’t cross the 50 and keep the ball until the third quarter. A 32-yard pass to Treyshun Hurry was the main gainer in a 14-play, 52-yard possession of 4 minutes and 51 seconds — but that produced no points. After a 9-yard pass to tight end Keayen Nead on first down to the MSU 12, Damon Bankston lost 1 yard on two carries combined, then Weisser threw an incomplete fade to Hurry on fourth-and-2.
Weisser finished 14 of 29 for 101 yards and was sacked four times. Bankston rushed 14 times for 36 yards and Jackson added 31 yards on seven carries. Weisser prolonged a few plays with his legs, gaining 36 gross yards on nine carries but netting just 12 rushing yards when accounting for the four sacks.
“We run 70 plays for 208 yards, we don’t have many explosive plays in there,” Mental said. “We’ve got to do a better job in the passing game of completions — and yards after contact once we make that completion. So we’ll work tirelessly in this next week in trying to get that accomplished.”
At the very least, Weber State should get some time to right the ship with a road trip to Northern Colorado, who is 0-4 and lost 35-21 to Idaho State this week.
AROUND THE BIG SKY
IDAHO 36, SAC STATE 27: No. 4 Sacramento State rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter before No. 7 Idaho’s Ricardo Chavez booted a game-winning field goal with 1 second left (then Sac State fumbled a kick-return lateral attempt, which Idaho returned for a touchdown as time expired) to put the Vandals in the front seat with Montana State through one week in the Big Sky.
NAU 28, MONT 14: Winless NAU handled No. 13 Montana from start to finish, suppressing the Griz in an upset win. The Lumberjacks won the yardage battle 396-244, holding the Griz to 31 rushing yards.
EWU 27, UCD 24: Eastern Washington blocked a potential game-tying field goal with 3:20 left and held on to beat No. 15 UC Davis on the road, withstanding 255 rushing yards from UCD’s Lan Larison after he left the game injured in the fourth quarter.
PSU 59, CP 21: Portland State rushed for 404 yards to crush Cal Poly.
ISU 35, UNCO 21: Despite Northern Colorado having two 100-yard rushers, Idaho State controlled the game with 429 total yards to the Bears’ 365, picking off UNCo quarterback Jacob Sirmon twice.