BOZEMAN — The No. 3 Montana State Bobcats football team is undefeated (7-0) in the Big Sky conference and 9-1 overall heading into their big rivalry game against the Montana Grizzlies to end the regular season. But how did they get to this point?
Their first and only loss was against FBS opponent Wyoming to open the year and that gave fans an indicator on how solid the team would be this season.
Montana State took a 16-12 lead on a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Matthew McKay to sophomore tight end Treyton Pickering with just over two minutes left in the game
However, with 45 seconds left the Cowboys marched down the field to score a touchdown to make it 19-16 on pass from Sean Chambers to tight end Treyton Welch to avoid being upset by the Bobcats.
Montana State then hosted back to back home games where they absolutely dominated, outscoring Drake and UC San Diego 97-17.
At Portland State, Montana State found themselves down 10-9 at the half, but the offense scored three touchdowns in the second half to win 30-17.
The Cats then breezed through their next two games destroying Northern Colorado and Cal Poly at home outscoring those two teams 85-14. The most interesting thing about the UNC game was their offensive coordinator Max McCaffrey throwing a clipboard into the stands and having a police report filed on him.
Montana State would then embark on a journey down to Ogden, Utah to face Weber State where they would need a stellar performance from their defense, as defensive Daniel Hardy had three sacks and kicker Blake Glessner booted in two second half field goals to win 13-7.
After defeating Idaho State 27-9, Montana State had the tough task of stopping Eric Barriere and the Eastern Washington offense. They did just that, holding the most prolific passer in the FCS to 214 passing yards, almost 200 less than his season average to win 23-20. The Bobcats would reach No. 3 in the rankings after that game.
Then last week against Idaho, freshman quarterback Tommy Mellott scored three rushing touchdowns, one which would be the game-winner to help the Bobcats avoid the upset at home.
Montana State’s defense is second in the country in points allowed, only giving up 11 points per game. Junior running back Isaiah Ifanse is third in the FCS with 1,208 rushing yards. Two big reasons why they are 9-1.
If Montana State can down the Griz this weekend, they will take home first place in the conference. Kickoff at Washington-Grizzly Stadium is at noon on Saturday.