Johnson leads Montana St past Weber St 23-13

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Weber State made a good push again, but not good enough as Shawn Johnson ran for 153 yards and a touchdown to lead Montana State to a 23-13 win over the struggling Wildcats.

Johnson scampered 63 yards for a score early in the third quarter to give the Bobcats (6-2, 4-0) a 14-3 lead. Gunnar Brekke added a short TD run early in the fourth, but the Wildcats (0-7, 0-3) answered with a field goal and touchdown to cut it 20-13.

Weber State’s defense then got a stop, but muffed the punt its own 13 and MSU tacked on a field goal to put the game out of reach.

Montana State’s Chad Newell, who also ran for 62 yards and a touchdown, recovered the loose ball after a knuckle-balling roll punt by Trevor Bolton bounced awkwardly in front of him and he couldn’t find the handle.

”We knew the returner (Bo Bolen) likes to take chances. He’s good at getting after the ball, but it bounced right to me.”

Montana State ran for 304 yards, but the Weber State defense kept red-hot quarterback Dakota Prukop in check all day, holding the sophomore without a touchdown and to just 220 total yards.

”We shot ourselves in the foot, especially me,” Prukop said. ”If I could’ve changed two things in the red zone we could’ve scored touchdowns on those drives.”

Montana State missed two field goal attempts on its first two possessions after Prukop took sacks of eight and 13 yards forcing kicks of 50 and 40 yards that kicker Luke Daly couldn’t convert.

Prukop had 14 touchdowns and over the 900 yards of offense the last two games.

Montana State’s average starting position was its 17-yard line. The Bobcats ended up with 464 yards but failed to finish several promising drives.

”We need to finish games better obviously,” Weber State coach Jay Hill said. ”We can’t make mistakes like that at crucial times.”

Weber State has lost four games by 11 points or less this season.

The Bobcats’ defense had one of its best performances of the year. After giving up over 1,300 yards the last two games, it held the Wildcats to 376.

Defensive end Odin Coe had 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries for the Montana State. He also scooped up a fumble to finish the game.