Walking up the gradual slope to Eastern Washington University’s (EWU) football “stadium,” Roos Field, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Cheney, Wash. was a quiet town, much like Bozeman. On either side of me were two other members of the Exponent, Molly Reed and Roger Miller. Cresting the hill, our eyes were drawn to the bright, ugly, red field that would eventually be full of fans and players. After attending the massive Bobcat tailgate consisting of between 400-600 Cat fans, we took to the sidelines to begin the game.
Montana State started strong and struck first with a passing touchdown by senior quarterback DeNarius McGhee. The Eagles of EWU answered back on their first drive following a missed tackle by MSU cornerback Sean Gords. The Bobcats were able to block the ensuing point after touchdown, which may have very well been the defense’s best play of the day.
It was back and forth with scoring until the Cats found themselves down 26-21 with the ball, three timeouts and 1:28 left on the clock before halftime. After a flagrant facemask to McGhee was not called, MSU wasted precious time and handed the ball to running back Cody Kirk with :29 left for a gain of six yards. It wasn’t until :05 was left on the scoreboard the Cats ran yet another running play for two yards, ending the first half and erasing any bit of momentum they could have had gained heading into the third quarter.
By halftime, it was clear the Eagles were dominating. In the 30 minutes of play, EWU had outplayed MSU in every aspect on the field including kickoff returns.
[pullquote align=”right”]“For them to score on every possession, that has never happened to me in my career”[/pullquote]
While walking around the stadium into the press boxes during the lull in play, I braved the sea of black and red and obviously was met with heckling, as I assumed would happen wearing a gold Bobcat shirt. It wasn’t until the third quarter when I made my way back down onto the field where I witnessed just how unsportsmanlike Eastern Washington students truly are. Walking past the student section, I was called things not appropriate to mention in a sports article and jeered at. Walking past the final gaggle of students at the end zone, I was spit on in the face by a female student and pushed in the back by a male.
The Bobcats struggled from the beginning in the final half, not forcing any punts and allowing EWU to score on every possession. The offense fought hard and managed to find the endzone once more before the Eagles managed once more to retaliate. With the score 29-47, the Eagles put in their backup quarterback, Anthony Vitto who took the Eagles to a fourth down and four situation. Instead of punting the ball away, Vitto hurled the ball down the field and scored yet another touchdown, putting the score to 20-54.
McGhee threw for 330 yards as he went 31-37 and Kirk rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Tanner Bleskin led the Bobcats in receiving with 116 yards in nine catches.
“For them to score every possession, a touchdown on every single possession, that has never happened to me in my career,” said Montana State Head Coach Rob Ash. “That’s like pitching a perfect game.”
The Bobcats fall to a 7-3 (5-1) record in the 54-29 loss. The game in Cheney was the last of MSU’s away games and they now face the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University, 7-3 (4-2), before taking on the UM Grizzlies at home.
Editor’s note: to view photos of the game taken by the Exponent’s Roger Miller, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/MSUExponent