In its first post­sea­son out­ing, UIW falls to Mon­tana State.

Car­di­nals’ first trip to play­offs un­done by mis­cues, Bob­cats

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Colter Nuanez COR­RE­SPON­DENT

BOZE­MAN, Mont. — De­spite tem­per­a­tures that hov­ered around 30 de­grees all af­ter­noon and a mid-Novem­ber snow­storm that blan­keted the Gal­latin Val­ley in white the evening prior, In­car­nate Word melted down in a 35-14 loss in its frst ap­pear­ance in the FCS play­offs Satur­day.

Trail­ing by four points early in the third quar­ter, penal­ties, turnovers and an in­abil­ity to slow Mon­tana State’s run­ning game proved to be the Car­di­nals’ demise. A pair of fourth-quar­ter take­aways and half a dozen UIW penal­ties helped Mon­tana State push a 21-14 lead to a 35-14 ad­van­tage with 10 min­utes, 43 sec­onds left.

And the Bob­cats’ rush­ing at­tack that to­taled 339 yards spear­headed by sopho­more quar­ter­back Troy An­der­sen and fresh­man run­ning back Isa­iah Ifanse helped Mon­tana State salt away

its first play­off vic­tory since 2012.

Ifanse set a Mon­tana State sin­gle-game post­sea­son rush­ing record with 171 yards on 30 car­ries. An­der­sen added 89 yards on 21 car­ries and threw for a sea­son­high 164 yards and a cru­cial fourth-quar­ter touch­down as the Bob­cats won in front of 10,017 fans at Bob­cat Sta­dium.

“They leaned on us that sec­ond half and that played into their hands,” UIW coach Eric Morris said. “That’s what their forte is: power foot­ball. The quar­ter­back is such a spe­cial player, a tough guy who de­fines what Mon­tana State foot­ball is all about.”

In its 10th sea­son play­ing foot­ball, in­clud­ing its sixth com­pet­ing in the Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion, UIW shared the South­land Con­fer­ence ti­tle with Ni­cholls State, ad­vanc­ing to the 24-team post­sea­son tour­na­ment for the first time in Morris’ first sea­son at the helm.

But with­out Jon Copeland, a sec­ond-team All-South­land se­lec­tion and the league’s fresh­man of the year af­ter throw­ing for nearly 300 yards per game, the Car­di­nals could not muster much scor­ing against a Bob­cats de­fense that mixed cov­er­age schemes on the back end and al­lowed touch­down drives on just the sec­ond pos­ses­sion of the game and the first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half for In­car­nate Word (6-5).

“We just wanted to send our se­niors out the right way,” UIW ju­nior quar­ter­back Sean Bro­phy said af­ter throw­ing for 313 yards and two touch­downs. “We came up short but I’m re­ally proud of the way our guys fought to­day. I think we can hold our heads up high as we walk out of here.”

UIW weath­ered an early Mon­tana State storm. MSU true fresh­man line­backer Nolan Askel­son blocked a punt and Lance McCutcheon re­turned the block for a touch­down on the first of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion for the Car­di­nals. MSU (8-4) notched a safety by ap­ply­ing pres­sure on Bro­phy, a ju­nior mak­ing his first start of the sea­son, to take a 9-7 lead.

But the visi­tors hung tough for the first 2½ quar­ters. When Bro­phy hit Kody Ed­wards for a 33yard touch­down on the open­ing drive of the sec­ond half, UIW trailed 18-14.

Mon­tana State’s abil­ity to pos­sess the ball al­lowed In­car­nate Word to run just six more plays the rest of the third quar­ter and 54 all af­ter­noon. UIW man­aged 13 first downs.

The eighth-ranked of­fense in the FCS in terms of to­tal yards per game fin­ished with 382 yards, more than 100 fewer than its sea­son av­er­age. MSU held the ball for 41 min­utes, 22 sec­onds.

“I wish I could say it was be­cause it was our first time here,” Morris said of the 13 penal­ties and four turnovers. “A bunch of them were undis­ci­plined penal­ties.

“The Achilles heel of good of­fenses, es­pe­cially an ex­plo­sive of­fense like ours, is if we go back­ward with penal­ties and we turn the ball over, es­pe­cially with a team like Mon­tana State, you won’t win.”

Colter Peter­son / San An­to­nio Ex­press-News

In­car­nate Word wide re­ceiver Kody Ed­wards tries to break free from a swarm of Mon­tana State de­fend­ers Satur­day.

Colter Peter­son / San An­to­nio Ex­press.News

In­car­nate Word quar­ter­back Sean Bro­phy, left, and of­fen­sive line­man Uzoma Okere lament a lost fum­ble to Mon­tanta State.

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