Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
Montana State was eliminated by Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, while rival Eastern Washington advanced to the semifinals.
Montana State couldn't stop Brian Bell on Friday night, as the Sam Houston State quarterback threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 34-16 victory for the Bearkats. The game was up for grabs until late in the third quarter, when Jon Ellis fumbled and the Bearkats took advantage. The turnover led to a touchdown and a 27-9 Sam Houston lead.
Jody Owens was hurt early on, which definitely affected the Bobcats. Owens was the Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year, and the team was already without the services of its top rusher, Cody Kirk, for most of the game.
The defeat ended Montana State's season at 11-2, with its only other loss coming to Eastern Washington in the regular season. It's also the second straight year that Sam Houston State has eliminated Montana State in the quarterfinals.
The teams that Montana State lost to this season, Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington, will face off in the semifinals, while No. 1 North Dakota State will take on No. 5 Georgia Southern in the other half of the bracket to determine the championship game. Those games will be on Dec. 14 and 15.
The full bracket can be found here.