Wildcats pose tough competition for Homecoming

Bobcat Stadium was striped blue and gold Saturday, Sept. 30 as the MSU football team took on Weber State. Going into the game, Weber State was a tough competitor and Head Coach Jeff Choate was aware, mentioning  “they’re the best FCS football team we’ve played yet.” This was the fourth consecutive highly-ranked team the Cats have gone up against this season. The Weber State Wildcats were 3-1 as they arrived in Bozeman. Sophomore quarterback Chris Murray stated, in hindsight, “they were the more dominant team.” Nationally ranked, and known for their dominance, the Wildcats were unable to keep the Bobcats from obtaining impressive accomplishments.

The Bobcats had an excellent start in the first quarter while the sun was still shining. The Cats took the ball 71 yards down the field on their first play. Following their first possession, Murray was tackled before the end zone and sophomore kicker Gabe Peppenger stepped up to make a 24-yard field goal. The Cats were ahead 3-0, which is commendable considering that the Wildcats are known to start fast. “We knew they were gonna come out swinging” expressed sophomore defensive tackle Derek Marks, who concluded the game with six tackles and one sack.

Not long into the second quarter, ponchos came out as fans braved the light rain whilst the stadium turned grey under the clouds. Weber State wasted no time and tied the game with a field goal of their own. The Bobcats held a strong defense, keeping the Wildcats from reaching the endzone, but Weber State’s Trey Tuttle put two more field goals on the scoreboard before halftime. The offense was faced with 37 seconds left on their own 25-yard line when Murray led a strong drive with an exhilarating 64-yard pass to the arms of freshman wide receiver Lance McCutcheon. Excitement shook the stadium as the Bobcats headed to the locker room leading the Wildcats 10-9.

Six minutes into the third quarter, Weber State made a touchdown but missed the point after. Finishing the third quarter, Weber State scored another touchdown, putting the score at 22-10 going into the fourth quarter. “I knew they were gonna come out at halftime determined,” Choate said, “I knew those field goals [in the first half] were gonna come back and haunt us, especially against this good of a team.”

The Bobcats had possession of the ball at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and Murray completed a pass to sophomore wide receiver, Kevin Kassis. Determined to even the score, Murray changed it up with a fleaflicker to Kassis on the next play, executing a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats responded on their next possession with another field goal, making the final score 25-17. “The game was pretty simple” Choate reported afterwards. “We had opportunities but we couldn’t get off the field on defense… the guys continued to play hard and kept fighting.”

“It’s frustrating,” Murray said about the second half, “we expected to keep that [momentum] but they slowed us back down.”  Murray finished with an impressive 123 yards rushing and an 8-22 passing record. “We’ve grown a lot through the last month and until we finish we’re gonna keep working,” Marks said looking forward to the next game.

Even with the downpour and a tough competitor, there is hope for the Parent’s Weekend game, on Oct. 8, when the Cats will take on Portland State at 11 a.m. Hopefully the weather will be more forgiving and the Bobcats can showcase a second win for the season.

The Bobcats now stand 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Sky Conference.

 

Montana State defensive lineman Zach Wright (96) and defensive back Bryson McCabe (10) tackle Weber State tight end Tui Satuala (33) during the first half of an NCAA football game in Bozeman, Mont. Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 Photo by Amy Lynn Nelson
Montana State quarterback Chris Murray (8) runs the ball against Weber State during the first half of an NCAA football game in Bozeman, Mont. Saturday Sept. 30, 2017. Photo by Amy Lynn Nelson