MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Malik Flowers scored on a kickoff return, Junior Bergen scored on a punt return and Montana scored 31 straight points over an 11-minute span to stun Southeast Missouri State 34-24 in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday night.
Robby Hauck finished with 15 tackles for Montana , becoming the career leader in the Big Sky Conference with 474. Hauck passed Eastern Washington’s Ronny Hamlin by one with at least one more game to play.
Montana, ranked 17th in the coaches poll and making a record 26th appearance in the playoffs, will travel to play third-ranked North Dakota State on Dec. 3.
Geno Hess scored on a 3-yard run to give 12th-ranked Southeast Missouri State (9-3) a 24-3 lead with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Flowers provided the spark that 17th-ranked Montana needed when he returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Lucas John connected with Keelan White for a 17-yard score to get Montana within 24-17. After the Grizzlies defense forced a three-and-out, Bergen took a punt and raced 58 yards for the score to tie the game heading into the final quarter.
Nico Ramos kicked a 32-yard field goal with 12:28 left to play to give the Grizzlies their first lead at 27-24. Johnson put the finishing touches on the comeback win with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Cole Grossman with 6:42 to go.
Johnson completed 18 of 37 passes for 306 yards with one interception for Montana. Flowers had seven catches for 108 yards.
Paxton DeLaurent completed 25 of 49 passes for 277 yards with one pick for the Redhawks. Hess carried 30 times for 122 yards and two scores.
Montana, which was ranked as high as No. 2, lost four of its last six games in the regular season.