Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 04:09
For the UNC football team, facing Montana State, the No. 2 team at the FCS level, on Saturday was going to be a daunting task.
It wasn’t until after allowing 21 unanswered points in the first quarter that it was really evident just how daunting.
The Bobcats’ big first quarter was enough breathing room for the rest of the game as MSU (4-0, 1-0 Big Sky) went on to win 41-16 in Bozeman, Mont.
The Bears (1-3, 0-1) gained some offensive traction in the second quarter with a 40-yard field goal from junior kicker Dave Eden and a 10-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Seth Lobato to sophomore wide receiver Dimitri Stimphil to cut the lead to 11 points.
The made extra point on Stimphil’s touchdown gave Eden 51 for his career, breaking the school’s Division I record of 50 held by Michael York (2006-09).
After putting a dent in the score, UNC’s defense allowed another 10 straight points, creating a 31-10 deficit.
The Bears got the ball back with 33 seconds left in the half and moved 33 yards to set up a 42-yard field goal from Eden. UNC went into halftime trailing 31-13.
With 6:42 left in the third quarter, Eden hit a third field goal, this one a 38-yarder.
Eden’s three field goals in the game were a career-high and pushed him into the top-10 at UNC for career field goals with 16.
The Bobcats scored another touchdown in the third and another field goal in the fourth to complete the scoring.
Montana State junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee torched UNC’s defense in the game for 387 yards passing and two touchdowns — a 9-yard pass in the first quarter and a 49-yarder in the third. McGhee completed 34-of-44 passes and also added 44 yards rushing and another score on the ground.
Montana State also got big games out of junior running back Cody Kirk (89 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and junior wide receiver Tanner Bleskin (10 receptions, 116 yards).
As for the Bears, Lobato passed for 209 yards, the touchdown to Stimphil and an interception. Lobato was also sacked four times.
Stimphil had two receptions for 29 yards, junior wide receiver Jace Davis had 59 yards on four catches and senior wide receiver Dominic Gunn had one catch for 56 yards, a catch that later set up Stimphil’s score.
Junior running backs Quentin Hildreth and Tromaine Dennis rushed for 46 and 26 yards, respectively, on a combined 16 carries.
Defensively, junior linebacker Clarence Bumpas recorded 11 tackles, running his streak of games against Big Sky teams with double-digit tackles to nine, not including last week against Sacramento State, which was not technically a conference game. Sophomore safety Kyle Griffin also had eight tackles in his first career start as a Bear.
The Bears now have a bye week, but will be back on the field at 1:35 p.m. Oct. 6 for their homecoming game against Montana (2-2, 0-1).