BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Brian Bell threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns and Sam Houston State cruised to a 34-16 FCS playoff quarterfinal win over Montana State on Friday night.

The Bearkats (10-3) took advantage of Jon Ellis' fumble on a first down reception to take control of the game late in the third quarter. MSU (11-2) had cut SHSU's lead to 20-9 on its first drive of the second half only to see the turnover set up a touchdown pass from Bell to Chance Nelson giving SHSU a 27-9 lead.

SHSU running back Tim Flanders had 106 yards on 31 carries.

Richard Sincere scored on a 12-yard run for the Bearkats in the second half. Trey Diller scored on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Bell. The Bearkats led 20-3 at the end of the first half.

Sam Houston will face the winner between Eastern Washington and Illinois State.

Sam Houston State eliminated Montana State in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Last season, the Bearkats routed the Bobcats 49-13.