South Dakota St 24

(4-3, 1-3 away)

Montana State 27

(5-2, 4-1 home)

3:00 PM ET, October 23, 2004

Bobcat Stadium (MT), Bozeman, MT

1 2 3 4 T
SDSU 7 0 0 1724
MTST 7 0 10 1027

Top Performers

Passing: T. Lulay (MTST) - 411 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: A. Watson (SDSU) - 19 CAR, 81 YDS

Receiving: R. Gatewood (MTST) - 9 REC, 126 YDS, 2 TD

Montana State 27, South Dakota St 24

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- For the second time in three weeks, walk-on E.J. Cochrane kicked a game-winning field goal for the Bobcats.

But coach Mike Kramer wasn't as thrilled with Saturday's 27-24 win over South Dakota State as he was the team's 20-17 win over Weber State on Oct. 9, which also ended with a field goal by Cochrane.

"The same guy who won the game with a field goal missed two field goals and fumbled a punt," Kramer said. "That's enough of that tomfoolery."

One of Cochrane's field goal attempts was a 54-yarder late in the first half -- not exactly a gimme -- but he also fumbled a punt with 11:25 left in the second quarter and the score tied at 7.

"The margin of victory today was provided by the defense in the second quarter when E.J. dropped that punt and we kept them from scoring," Kramer said.

Justin Domineck, who rushed for 63 yards, also lost a fumble in the second quarter and the Bobcats were penalized eight times for 95 yards.

"It's excruciating to win a game like this, where so many silly penalties are major infractions," Kramer said. "Our mistakes in the first half made this a (close) game."

Travis Lulay passed for a career-high 411 yards and three touchdowns for the Bobcats (5-2), who appeared to have the game in hand after taking a 24-10 lead when Lulay hit Rick Gatewood streaking across the middle with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 4:57 remaining.

But South Dakota State (4-3) scored twice in the final two minutes. The Jackrabbits pulled within 24-17 on an 18-yard TD pass from Brad Nelson to Chris Molitor with 1:12 remaining.

SDSU recovered the onside kick after the ball glanced off MSU's Chaz Guinn and 23 seconds later scored on a 44-yard pass from Nelson to Brian Janecek to tie the score at 24 with 49 seconds remaining.

"These things don't happen if you don't believe, and we believe," SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said.

The Bobcats covered 69 yards in eight plays, capped by Cochrane's 22-yard field goal, to win their fourth consecutive down-to-the-wire game.

"We had another big drive at the end of the game and we won," Lulay said. "It's getting scarily routine."

Lulay, who had orchestrated wins in the final seconds of the Bobcats last two games, completed four passes for 60 yards in MSU's final drive -- including a 28-yard pass to Guinn -- and centered the ball for Cochrane's field goal attempt on his last carry of the game.

"Their quarterback is a first-class guy. I love guys like that," said Stiegelmeier, whose team is in its first year in NCAA Division I-AA. "I would love to get in the Big Sky (Conference), but not until after he graduates."

Kramer said the feeling of giving up a huge lead and pulling out the win wasn't the same as his team's last two rallies for wins, including a 31-24 overtime victory over Portland State last weekend.

"Last week in the locker room we were tearing the paint off the walls," Kramer said. "This week we're looking at ourselves going, 'Oh, God, we're better than this."

Defensive end Chad Gluhm, who had two of MSU's six sacks on Nelson, wasn't exactly happy with the way things played out, either.

"I'm a little disappointed in how we played, but a win's a win," he said. "We're not happy with how we played in the last two minutes. We never play scared and that confidence helps us keep our cool."

Blake Wolf caught 11 passes for 137 yards and a 2-yard TD pass in the second quarter for the Bobcats. Gatewood caught nine passes for 126 yards and two scores, including a 4-yard scoring pass in the first quarter.

Ryan Force's 51-yard punt return set up a 47-yard field goal by Cochrane with 5:52 left in the third quarter, giving MSU a 17-7 lead.

Nelson completed 19-of-35 pass attempts for 216 yards for South Dakota State, including 79 yards passing Janecek. Andy Kardoes scored on a 1-yard run for SDSU in the first quarter.

Parker Douglass kicked a 19-yard field goal with 7:34 remaining to pull SDSU within 17-10.