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Long Beach Opens With Balanced Win : 49ers Rout Montana State, 51-15, in First Game for New Coach

September 06, 1987|DICK WAGNER | Times Staff Writer

Cal State Long Beach won a season opener for the first time in four years Saturday, scoring its most points since 1965 in a 51-15 nonconference victory over Montana State.

The 49ers, reflecting the philosophy of new Coach Larry Reisbig, used a balanced attack, adding a running game that had been absent in recent seasons.

The 49ers, who averaged only 68 yards on the ground in 1986, gained 199 Saturday. Junior quarterback Jeff Graham threw only 13 passes but completed 12 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The victory came before a Veterans Stadium crowd of only 3,606. Long Beach has said it needs increased attendance and financial support to continue football.

The new running game got off to a good start when tailback Michael Roberts swept the right side for 44 yards to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter.

From that point, Long Beach ran and passed at will against the Bobcats of the Big Sky Conference.

Roberts used his explosiveness again early in the second quarter when he caught a screen pass and ran 85 yards for a touchdown that made it 20-0.

The lead became 34-0 on a 36-yard interception return by Ron Frost and a touchdown pass from Graham to tight end Brian Wiss that covered 56 yards.

Capitalizing on two fumbles, the 49ers scored twice within the first four minutes of the third quarter. With a 51-8 lead, Graham took the rest of the day off.

The 49ers' 51 points were the most they've scored since beating San Fernando State, 54-6, in 1965.

Besides Roberts' 58 rushing yards, Brian Browning and Lafayette Shelton each gained 67.

"It was a great team effort,' said Graham, who praised an offensive line that was untested going into the game.

It was a day for the defense, too. The 49ers held Montana State to 46 yards in the first half.

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