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No. 15 Montana Rallies in Second Half for 37-23 Win Over Mustangs

MISSOULA, Mont. – Sophomore quarterback Jordan Johnson passed for 240 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion and also ran for two points as No. 15 Montana  rallied from a 20-14 third-quarter deficit to beat Cal Poly 37-23 in a non-conference football game between two future Big Sky Conference foes Saturday afternoon before 25,855 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Mustang sophomore placekicker James Langford kicked three field goals, including a 50-yarder that gave Cal Poly a 23-21 lead with 4:21 left in the third quarter. It was Cal Poly's second-longest field goal since moving to Division I in 1994. Alan Beilke kicked a 54-yarder against Western Illinois in 1996.

Montana, however, scored a pair of touchdowns on a four-yard pass from Johnson to Kavario Middleton and a one-yard dive by Dan Moore that capped a game-clinching 90-yard drive. That march included six third-down plays, all converted for first downs by the Grizzlies.

Montana, which has won 14 of 16 meetings against Cal Poly, improves to 1-1 on the year while the Mustangs fell  to 0-2.

Cal Poly led 17-14 at halftime on a four-yard run by senior fullback Jake Romanelli, a 38-yard field goal by Langford and a one-yard dive by junior quarterback Andre Broadous.

A 35-yard field goal by Langford less than five minutes into the third period gave Cal Poly a 20-14 lead, but Montana outscored the Mustangs 23-3 the rest of the way.

Romanelli finished two yards shy of his second career 100-yard game rushing, netting 98 yards on 20 carries. Broadous added 90 yards on 22 trips, Mark Rodgers gained 52 yards on 10 carries and Donte Williams added 46 yards on seven trips.

Broadous completed nine of 13 passes for 67 yards and his favorite targets were Rodgers with three catches and true freshman Willie Tucker with two receptions.

Johnson completed 25 of 39 passes and he connected with Sambrano on five catches and Greg Hardy with four. Sambrano also returned  the game-opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Johnson was the Grizzlies' top rusher with 54 yards on 10 carries.

For the second straight game, linebacker Johnny Millard was Cal Poly's top tackler, recording 10 stops. Kennith Jackson and Angel Morales each added nine tackles.

The Mustang defense did not record a sack, interception or fumble recovery for the second week in a row.

Cal Poly amassed 211 yards in total offense and 17 points in the first half but was held to 121 yards and a pair of field goals after the break. Montana, on the other hand, was held to 83 total yards in the first half but broke through for 273 second-half yards.

Johnson completed just six of 12 passes for 35 yards in the first half, but exploded for 205 yards, connecting on 19 of 27 throws, after intermission.

Cal Poly plays its first home game of the 2011 season next Saturday, hosting South Dakota State (1-1) at 4:05 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Jackrabbits  fell 56-3 at Illinois on Saturday.

It will be Youth Day and Military Appreciation Day next Saturday. All active and retired military personnel who present their military ID card will be admitted free for the non-conference game.  In addition, youth football players and cheerleaders, 13 and under, will be admitted free by wearing their football jerseys or cheer uniforms to the game.