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Jake Miller ran for 93 yards and a score Saturday.
Bobcats rush past UND, 63-20
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Updated: Wednesday 09/28/2013 21:53:08 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - No. 11/10 Montana State raced out to a 42-7 halftime lead en route to a 63-20 win over host North Dakota in the Big Sky opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at the Alerus Center.

MSU running back Cody Kirk rushed for five of those scores in the opening frame, tying a 50-year-old school record for rushing touchdowns in a game. He finished with 104 yards on 12 carries, while backfield mate Shawn Johnson added 134 yards on 13 carries.

In all, the Bobcats (3-2, 1-0 BSC) compiled 592 yards of total offense thanks to the return of senior All-American Denarius McGhee, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. The savvy quarterback led his squad to its second straight win over UND (1-3, 0-1 BSC) since the schools became conference foes.

The MSU defense was also stout, limiting UND to 250 total yards and only 85 through the air. UND entered the game averaging 334 yards from the passing game, but the redshirt freshman duo of Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels struggled to find a rhythm.

The offense entered the contest leading the Big Sky in third-down conversions (54 percent), but could only convert on 4-of-11 chances in the contest.

UND All-American Greg Hardin was held without a catch for the first time in his college career, but did amass 194 all-purpose yards on kick returns.

Tailback Jake Miller rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown that cut Montana State's advantage to 14-7 early in the second quarter, but McGhee marched the Bobcats down the field to go back up by two scores. The senior signal caller converted a key 3-and-9 and Kirk finished off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run.

Kirk would add two more scores in the quarter and James Nelson would return a fumbled kickoff return 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Bobcats a 35-point lead at halftime.

MSU turned all three of UND's first-half turnovers into scores and never relented after the second-quarter outburst.
 
UND scored two touchdowns after halftime with one coming on a four-yard catch by sophomore Jameer Jackson and a 13-yard fumble return by Alex Hickel in the fourth quarter, but the first-half hole was to large to overcome.

Senior captain Blair Townsend led UND with four catches for 40 yards, while Jackson added two catches for nine yards and rushed seven times for 43 yards.

North Dakota (1-3, 0-1) makes its first road trip next Saturday, traveling to Idaho State. Kick is slated for 3:05 p.m.

Game Notes: Seniors Garrison Goodman, Blair Townsend, Joe Kleason and Zeb Miller served as game captains ... The Alerus Center press box was dedicated to former UND sports information director Lee Bohnet in a ceremony held earlier Saturday morning ... The Lee Bohnet Football Press Box will be the name of the space moving forward ... Goodman equaled his career-high with 12 tackles, while safety Baylee Carr also equaled his career-high with 10 ... Freshman Cam Kuksa added a career-high eight tackles in the most action of his young career ... Alex Hickel's 13-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the first defensive score for UND since the 2011 season regular-season finale vs. South Dakota (Kenny Watkins; 22-yard fumble return) ... Senior Jake Miller's second-quarter rushing touchdown was the 22nd of his career, moving him into a tie for sixth on the all-time UND charts (regular-season games) ... Senior Greg Hardin was held without a catch for the first time in his collegiate career (30 games). 

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