Wow. In what was one of the more exciting games at Bobcat Stadium in the last few years, No. 3-ranked Montana State survived a back-and-forth marathon in beating No. 23 Stephen F. Austin 43-35.
There were five lead changes and 931 combined yards of offense. With the win, the Cats improved to 3-0, which marks their first perfect start after three games in 34 years.
Here are some quick thoughts from today's thriller in Bozeman:
- PLAYER OF THE GAME: MSU WR TANNER BLESKIN -- Stephen F. Austin WR Cordell Roberson came in with the hype, but MSU's Bleskin was the best receiver on the field. The Great Falls CMR product caught 10 passes for 180 yards and a critical third-quarter touchdown. He and QB DeNarius McGhee also hooked up for a big 57-yard pass play that resulted in the fourth quarter, which led to a 1-yard TD run by Cody Kirk.
- TURNING POINT: In a game loaded with huge plays, the biggest one didn't come until Bobcats safety Steven Bethley picked off SFA QB Brady Attaway with 2:16 remaining in the game. Bethley's pick led to a clutch 45-yard field goal from Rory Perez, which gave the Cats the cushion they needed.
- QUOTABLE: "I thought the defense did a great job, and I don't normally say that after allowing 35 points and some big numbers. But I really don't care. The bottom line was the score at the end of the game. I thought (defensive coordinator) Jamie Marshall and his guys were patient with their calls, and I thought our guys were fundamentally sound 90 percent of the time. We got a lot of stops and got out of drives. And at the end we finally got some turnovers." -- Rob Ash
- WHAT IT MEANS: It was a big non-conference win for the Bobcats over a fellow Top 25 team in the FCS. It could go along way toward playoff seeding, etc. once the time comes. But for now, the Bobcats are 3-0 for the first time since the 1978 season, which was Sonny Lubick's first year at MSU. It hasn't always been pretty through the first three weeks, but the Bobcats have handled adversity better than they ever have in the Ash era -- and their perfect record shows it.