OGDEN, Utah — In a game where offenses struggled to put up points, Montana State's kicker and defense came through.
"It certainly wasn't pretty," said Bobcats head coach Brent Vigen. "To some degree, we maybe beat them at their own game. We got the two turnovers and I think that was the biggest different of the game.
Blake Glessner booted a pair of go-ahead field goals in the third quarter and MSU's defense didn't allow a score outside of the opening drive as the No. 9 Bobcats held off No. 19 Weber State 13-7 on Friday night at Stewart Stadium.
"We could have made 20 different excuses. Oh, short week. Oh, they had an extra bye week. Nah, we're just going to come in and we're going to get the 'W' by any means," said junior defensive back Ty Okada.
The Bobcats improved to 6-1 overall and stay perfect in conference play at 4-0. The Wildcats fell to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky.
Weber State scored its first and only touchdown of the game on its opening drive, a 10-play, 97-yard march capped off by a 9-yard rushing score from Josh Davis to go up 7-0.
MSU went 3-and-out on its opening drive by crossed the goal line on its next possession. The Bobcats went 78 yards in 11 plays and Matt McKay scored from 1-yard out to tie the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter, a score that would hold until midway through the third quarter.
Montana State then broke the stalemate on Glessner's kicks of 46 and 32 yards to put the Bobcats up 13-7 with 3:50 remaining in the game.
MSU's defense took over from there, forcing Weber State to punt four times and turn the ball over on downs twice on the Wildcats final six possessions. Weber's final punt of the game, with 1:32 remaining, was forced by a crucial sack from Daniel Hardy on third down. He led both teams with three sacks on the game.
"We were just telling each other, that's our job — we play defense for Montana State," said Ty Okada. "We pride ourselves on our tough hard-nosed defense. We're going to play fast, we're going to play physical, it's just what we do. That's the expectation — if they have the ball we're going to go out there and stop them."
McKay then picked up a first down on Montana State's final possession to ice the game.
"It felt really good," said McKay about the play, as it was Montana State only first down of the fourth quarter. "That's the one that meant the most, so it's exciting."
Outside of McKay's touchdown run in the first quarter, Isaiah Ifanse was the most productive member of MSU's offense, churning out 81 yards on 25 attempts. MSU outpaced Weber State on the ground 146 yards to 54.
The Bobcats' passing game was largely shut down, with McKay completing just 12 passes for 76 yards, three of them to Lance McCutcheon who led MSU with 26 receiving yards.
Ty Okada led MSU's defense with 11 tackles and Troy Anderson had 10.
The two teams combined for 15 punts, spurred by a lack of efficiency on third down. MSU converted just 1-of-14 and Weber State 2-of 13. The Wildcats were 0-for-3 on fourth down attempts.
"I feel like there's always room for improvement, especially coming for this game," said junior quarterback Matt McKay about the lackluster offense. "There's a lot of things we left out on the field, so we definitely can improve."
Outside of those failed fourth down tries, it was a turnover-free game with neither team fumbling or throwing an interception.
The Bobcats now return home next Saturday to take on Idaho State while Weber State travels to face No. 2 Eastern Washington.