HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Tommy Mellott accounted for five touchdowns to help Montana State beat No. 1 seed Sam Houston 42-19 on Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs and snapped the Bearkats’ 22-game win streak.
Eighth-seeded Montana State (11-2), which did not participate in the spring season brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, plays South Dakota State — which upset No. 5 seed Villanova in another quarterfinal game — next weekend. The Bobcats also advanced to the semifinals in 2019 before losing 42-14 to eventual-champion North Dakota State. South Dakota State lost to the Bearkats in last May’s championship game.
Mellott and Lance McCutcheon connected on a 30-yard pass and the Bearkats called for face mask and pass interference penalties before wide receiver Willie Patterson took a direct snap, rolled to his right and threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Mellott. Four plays later, after Tre Webb intercepted a pass by Sam Houston’s Eric Schmid, Mellott dropped a 31-yard TD pass over the shoulder of tightly-covered Patterson’s shoulder to make it 14-0 with 11:43 left in the first quarter.
Mellott added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the second and scored on a 2-yard run to give the Bobcats a 28-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first half.
Sam Houston (11-1), the defending national champion, lost for the first time since a 31-28 loss to Northwestern State on November 16, 2019.
Mellott was 6-of-11 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns and added 76 yards rushing on 17 carries. The freshman made his first career start in last week’s second-round win over UT Martin, following starting quarterback Matthew McKay’s announcement that he was entering the transfer portal.
Eric Schmid was 27-of-39 passing for 354 yards and two touchdowns but threw three interceptions for Sam Houston.
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