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Montana rallies for victory to advance to 2nd-round FCS playoff matchup with Bison

The Montana Grizzlies overcame a 21-point deficit in the second half to rally past Southeast Missouri State.

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Montana Grizzlies head football coach Bobby Hauck.
Joe Nicholson / USA TODAY Sports
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MISSOULA, Mont. — The Montana Grizzlies scored 31 unanswered points in the second half to rally past Southeast Missouri State on Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs.

The Grizzlies scored 21 points in the third quarter to fuel a 34-24 victory at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Montana (8-4) next plays at North Dakota State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the second round of the playoffs. The No. 3 seed Bison (9-2) are the defending national champions and had a first-round bye.

SEMO took a 24-3 lead after running back Geno Hess scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes, 41 seconds to play in the third quarter.

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The Grizzlies responded moments later after Malik Flowers returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Montana quarterback Lucas Johnson threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Keelan White to cut the SEMO lead to 24-17 with 5:07 to play in the third.

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Junior Bergen added a 58-yard punt return that tied the score at 24-24 with 4:04 to play in the third quarter, erasing the three touchdown lead in less than five minutes coming off the game clock.

The Grizzlies added 10 points in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback victory.

Johnson completed 18 of 37 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Flowers had seven catches for 108 yards.

Hess paced SEMO, rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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