BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Travis Jonsen ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns to lead Montana State back from a 21-0 first-half deficit to a 49-31 win over Northern Arizona in a Big Sky Conference opener on Saturday.
The Bobcats (4-1), ranked seventh in the STATS FCS Top 25, still trailed 31-14 midway through the third quarter, but they rattled off 35 unanswered points behind a prolific run game that produced 244 yards in the second half. MSU ran 22 straight rushing plays at one point during the second half.
NAU (2-3) scored the first three touchdowns, with two coming off MSU turnovers, including Taylor Powell's pick-6 off Tucker Rovig to spot the Lumberjacks a 7-0 lead. MSU's Logan Jones fumbled the ball two possessions later and NAU marched 56 yards to go up 21-0.
MSU cut the lead to 21-14 before halftime, but Case Cookus led the Lumberjacks on an 85-yard drive for a score just before the end of the first half to put NAU up 28-14.
NAU got a 48-yard field goal into a brisk wind from Luis Aguilar to go up 31-14. The Bobcats methodically got on track in the third quarter and they still trailed by 10 at the start of the fourth but exploded for 28 points, including 14 points in an 18-second span after NAU fumbled on a kickoff return.
MSU held NAU star quarterback Case Cookus to just 26-for-50 passing for 273 yards and one touchdown.
Shane Perry rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries for MSU. Logan Jones pitched in with 74 yards on 18 carries. MSU finished with 340 yards rushing.
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