Montana State No. 3 visits northern Arizona

VICTOR FLORES 406mtsports.com

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Montana State Football Team plays in Northern Arizona on Saturday afternoon for the sixth game of the Big Sky Conference season for both teams.

Pregame

No. 3-ranked MSU (7-1, 5-0 Big Sky) and NAU (3-5, 2-3) retire. It’s the Bobcats’ first trip to the Walkup Skydome since 2017, and they haven’t won in Flagstaff since 2008. They beat the Lumberjacks in their last outing, 49-31 in 2019 at Bobcat Stadium.

MSU will be without replacement quarterback Sean Chambers and starting linebacker “Mike” Danny Uluilakepa, both injured, MSU announced shortly before Saturday’s game. Running backs Isaiah Ifanse and Lane Sumner will also miss another game.

Nolan Askelson will start in place of Uluilakepa, while McCade O’Reilly will support his brother Callahan O’Reilly at linebacker “Will”.

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Right guard Cole Sain – who missed the final game through injury – and solid safety Rylan Ortt – who hasn’t played since last year’s Football Championship Subdivision semi-finals in due to a failed drug test suspension and re-entry issues are back in MSU’s starting lineup. Wide receiver “H” Coy Steel will also play for the first time since injuring his leg at Portland State on Sept. 25, 2021.

Northern Arizona will be without All-Big Sky running back Kevin Daniels (injury) for the sixth straight game.

first quarter

Steel made the tackle on the opening kickoff. A play later, MSU defensive end Brody Grebe fired NAU quarterback RJ Martinez, forced a fumble and picked it up.

The Cats capped the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Mellott to fellow team captain RJ Fitzgerald at 1:20. It was Fitzgerald’s fifth touchdown of the season and his second reception.