Isaiah Ifanse scored three touchdowns and rushed for over 200 yards as Montana State snapped a two-game losing streak with a 49-42 victory over Cal Poly on a chilly but dry Saturday afternoon inside Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman.
Despite 215 yards rushing by Joe Protheroe, his seventh consecutive 100-yard game rushing and 21st in his Mustang career, including four 200-yard performances, Cal Poly fell to 3-6 and 2-4.
The Bobcats improved to 5-4 for the season and 3-3 in Big Sky games.
Trailing 28-14 at halftime, Cal Poly fumbled the ball to Montana State twice in the opening four minutes of the third quarter. Both were converted into touchdowns and a 42-14 Bobcat lead. The Mustangs never got closer than the final margin the rest of the way.
Protheroe picked up 215 yards on 36 carries, moving past James Noble into third place on Cal Poly’s all-time career rushing chart. With two games remaining for the senior fullback has accumulated 1,549 yards this season and 3,828 for his Mustang career.
He needs six yards to catch No. 2 Antonio Warren and 377 yards to claim the school career rushing record of 4,205 yards held by Craig Young (1996-99). Protheroe also is within reach of the single-season rushing mark of 1,578 yards set by Noble in 2005, needing just 30 yards.
Protheroe scored on a pair of two-yard runs in the first half, but Montana State scored on each of its first three possessions of the game and Cal Poly was playing catchup the rest of the way.
The Mustangs play their final two games of the 2018 season at home, hosting Idaho State next Saturday and Southern Utah on Nov. 17. Both games kick off at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.