MISSOULA, Mont. — James Noble rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown in each quarter Saturday to lead Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to a 35-21 victory over Montana in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
The No. 10 Mustangs (9-3) beat No. 9 Montana (8-4) for the first time in 11 tries and avenged a 36-27 loss to the Grizzlies on Oct. 22.
Noble, a freshman, had touchdown runs of three, four, five and 35 yards for Cal Poly, which advances to a second-round game next Saturday at No. 4 Texas State (10-2), a 50-35 winner over No. 6 Georgia Southern (8-4).
Matt Brennan passed for 130 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to Ramses Barden 1:18 before halftime to give Cal Poly a 21-14 lead.
Lex Hilliard rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns and turned a shovel pass into a 66-yard score for Montana, which ended its season with two straight losses.
Cole Bergquist passed for 167 yards, but was sacked seven times, three times by Chris Gocong and twice by Chris White.
Montana took a 14-7 lead on Hilliard's second score -- an 18-yard run midway through the second quarter. But Cal Poly scored the next three touchdowns and Noble's five-yard run gave the Mustangs a 28-14 lead with 10:54 left in the third.
Hilliard's long score got Montana back in the game with 6:47 left in the third quarter, but Dan Carpenter missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter. Noble's final score came with 5:06 remaining.
Montana's next drive ended when Kenny Chicoine intercepted a Bergquist pass with 3:52 remaining.