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Montana State starting quarterback Tommy Mellott will undergo surgery next week to repair his injured right ankle, sources told Friday.

Mellott tore a ligament in the ankle, per sources. It happened on the first drive of the Football Championship Subdivision title game loss to North Dakota State last Saturday in Frisco, Texas.

The extent of the damage and length of Mellott’s recovery are uncertain. Athletes usually take many weeks and often months to recover from ankle ligament reconstruction.

The injury appeared to occur on the fourth play from scrimmage, when Mellott rushed for two yards on third down and 1 and was tackled by NDSU’s Jake Kava. The 6-foot-1, 241-pound defensive end landed on Mellott’s right ankle and caused it to twist.

Mellott didn’t look hurt on the play immediately following the 2-yard run. But he came up limping on a 5-yard completion to Lance McCutcheon and favored his right leg on the next play, a 5-yard run from Isaiah Ifanse. Mellott threw deep to McCutcheon on the play after that and once again looked hurt. He held his right leg in the air after he released the third-down pass, which fell incomplete.

Mellott then limped to the sideline and went into the medical tent. Trainers looked at the freshman from Butte for several minutes and taped his right ankle before he left the tent and jogged on the sideline. His limp wasn’t severe, but he still struggled to put weight on his right leg.

Tucker Rovig replaced Mellott for the second drive, and Mellott missed the rest of the game. North Dakota State won 38-10.

The injury ended a legend-making playoff run from Mellott. He replaced regular-season starter Matthew McKay (who’s now in the transfer portal) before MSU’s playoff opener against UT Martin. Mellott rushed for a program playoff QB record 180 yards in that game, a 26-7 win for the eighth-seeded Bobcats.

One week later, Mellott accounted for five touchdowns in a 42-19 victory at top-seeded and defending national champion Sam Houston.

Mellott rushed for two TDs, passed for the other two and nearly compiled 400 total yards in MSU’s 31-17 semifinal win over South Dakota State. That win sent the Bobcats to their first national title game since 1984.

On the season, Mellott completed 28 of 53 passes (52.8%) for 484 yards, four TDs and no interceptions, and he rushed for 716 yards and 10 scores on 113 carries (6.3 yards per carry).

Mellott is one of three QBs on the 2021 MSU roster currently set to return. Third-stringer Casey Bauman will be a redshirt junior next season, and Sean Austin redshirted this fall.

The Bobcats are adding grey shirt Jordan Reed this year, and former Wyoming starting QB Sean Chambers announced Sunday he was transferring to MSU.

Rovig has one more year of eligibility but chose to make 2021 his final season. He is pursuing a master’s degree and a coaching career.

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