The Bozeman Block: NDSU shocks #6 Montana State 35-34 to advance to the quarterfinals

Photo courtesy: InForum
Photo courtesy: InForum

(Bozeman,MT) -- North Dakota State blocks Montana State's overtime extra point to advance to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

NDSU and Montana State is usually a matchup reserved for a round in the playoffs deeper than the 2nd round but these two FCS titans gave us possibly the best second-round playoff game ever. it was a sloppy game early as the Bobcats missed two field goals and the Bison offense was held in check the entire quarter. MSU scored first as their star quarterback Tommy Mellott found Ty McCullouch for the game's first score, a 32-yard touchdown pass to put Montana State up early.

NDSU then took control of the game for most of the 2nd quarter as they scored two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, Cam Miller found Zach Mathis for a seven-yard touchdown to even the score then TaMerik Williams gave the Bison the lead as he dashed 44 yards for the go-ahead touchdown to put NDSU ahead 14-7. That lead wouldn't last as Tommy Mellott scored a touchdown on the following drive to send both teams to the halftime locker room tied at 14.

The Bison started the 2nd half with a bang as TaMerik Williams took the first play of the 3rd quarter 75 yards to give NDSU a 21-14 lead. Montana State fired right back with touchdowns of their own as Tommy Mellott scored on a 76-yard touchdown run then later in the quarter on a end around pass Mellott found Clevan Thomas to give the Bobcats a 28-21 lead heading into the 4th.

NDSU was pinned at its own 11-yard line and on a season-defining drive NDSU marched 89 yards in 11 plays and capped off the drive with a 29-yard TK Marshall touchdown run to even the score at 28. Four quarters weren't enough as Montana State couldn't respond on their final drive meaning extra football would be needed.

Montana State won the toss and elected to play defense meaning NDSU got the ball first. The Bison took full advantage as they scored five plays later as Cam Miller spun into the endzone to give NDSU a 35-28 lead. The Bobcats scored on the net play as Scottre Humphrey scored to bring the Bobcats within one with a huge extra point coming. 

Montana State kicker Casey Kautzman had missed two field goals but had made all his extra-point attempts. He had the opportunity to tie the game but his kick found the left mitt of Hunter Poncius. The 6'7 315-pounder swatted the ball out of midair to give NDSU a 35-34 win to advance to the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs where they have a date with redemption as NDSU faces #3 South Dakota on Saturday.