BOZEMAN — It’s do or die. Win or go home. Montana State kicks off their playoff game at 2 p.m. on Saturday against UT-Martin.
First, what are the Bobcats going to do at the quarterback position now that Matthew McKay has transferred out of the program?
They could roll with junior Tucker Rovig who is leaving the program once the season ends to start his career after football. He hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in nearly two years. In his last game, Rovig completed 13 of 22 attempts for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception against NDSU in the 2019 FCS semifinals. He started the last 12 games of the 2019 season, throwing for 1,969 yards 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Or, they could roll with freshman Tommy Mellott who has only passed the ball four times all year, completing two of them.
Another option is they just swap McKay with Rovig and keep putting Mellott on the field to keep the offense similar to what it was. The only difference between McKay and Rovig is Rovig isn’t a threat to run the ball. Montana State will likely not indicate who their starter is until game time on Saturday.
As for UT Martin, they were 16 point underdogs against Missouri State and pulled off a big upset.
“You saw them play with a nothing to lose mindset," head coach Brent Vigen said. "You know, you win a game like that for them, they’re playing with house money and when you have that mindset, you’re really dangerous. I know that.”
Earning a bye week was big for the Bobcats to regroup after their blowout loss against the Griz.
“We were not too far removed from our previous bye, but to have another one was a real benefit," said Vigen. "We certainly needed the rest from a health perspective, I think. Re-calibrating so to speak as we look to make a week by week run.”
Skyhawks star quarterback Keon Howard was out with an injury last week and senior Dresser Winn stepped in and led UT-Martin to victory.
“I think we got to anticipate that he could play, but I thought Winn came in and really made some throws," Vigen said. "They’re quite a bit different but he made a bunch of throws. (Senior WR Donnell Williams) is a big target and was a real problem for Missouri State. I thought he made several plays with the ball -- the 50-50 balls.”
In the backfield, they have a little bit of a thunder and lightning committee. Senior Peyton Logan provides the speed and the bigger heavier redshirt freshman Zak Wallace brings the thump.
“Very much that change of pace between the two," said the Bobcats head coach. "Different styles. That difference I do think does create problems for tacklers. Especially if you allow them to get in space.”
On defense, Vigen highlighted the Skyhawks front seven.
“They’re extremely active," he said. "I know it’s a three-man front. They move quite a bit. They disrupt quite a bit and it’s probably different than the multiple front teams that we’ve seen this year, but some guys that can really cause problems in particular in their front seven.”
Montana State looks to beat the Skyhawks and face the winner of undefeated Sam Houston State and two-loss Incarnate Word.