PORTLAND — Montana State knew their Week 3 opponent in Oregon State was going to be a tough one for a variety of reasons, ranging from a depleted running back room, to the simple fact that the Beavers were an improved FBS program.
However, their 68-28 loss on Saturday exposed several areas needing improvement before the Bobcats open up conference play next week.
“We were going to have to be clean and we were far from clean today and we have to figure out why we weren’t and we have to squash this," head coach Brent Vigen stated. "We lost to them tonight, and we can’t lose to them again.”
Saturday's 40-point loss to Oregon State was a margin Bobcat football hasn’t seen in years.
In fact, the Beavers’ 68 points are the third-most allowed by the program since World War II.
"We couldn’t get them off the field on third down all night, and that’s certainly a credit to them," Vigen said. "There were plays for us to make, and we just didn’t do it tonight.”
In those third-down situations, Oregon State converted on 10 of 13, whereas Montana State only finished at 30% efficiency in that category.
Additionally, for a team that was averaging just over 280 yards allowed on defense heading into this game, Montana State almost doubled that Saturday night, surrendering 540 yards to the Beavs.
“I just look at all the positions the defense was put in tonight," Vigen explained. "I know we gave up a bunch of points and a bunch of yards, but boy the situations they were put in, that’s not complimentary football, and that’s what we pride ourselves in and it just didn’t happen tonight.”
On offense, ball protection continues to be a problem. Montana State turned the ball over three times on Saturday marking eight on the season. Tommy Mellott accounted for all three, which are the first interceptions of his college career.
“Miscommunications," Mellott stated. "Not seeing it the same. Just a lot of mistakes on my part.”
As Montana State turns the page to Week 4, Vigen expressed there’s a lot they’ll need to clean up from an execution standpoint but that owning Saturday’s 40-point loss is their first step in moving forward.
“Own this game," Vigen stated. "Own our performance. Own our preparation, and like I said before we can’t lose to this team more than once. We lost to them tonight. We can’t let this linger, and if you let a performance linger, if you don’t learn from a performance shame on us. Shame on whatever. We didn’t get it done tonight, and it’s as simple as that.”
The Bobcats open up Big Sky play on the road next week against Eastern Washington with kickoff set for 2 p.m. MT.