Montana State Bobcats battled adversity early, now prepared for anything

Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 03, 2018

BOZEMAN — In addition to kicker Tristan Bailey’s honors this week, the Montana State Bobcats have another chance to be nationally recognized in the coming days by defeating No. 3 South Dakota State on Saturday.

SDSU defeated Montana State by four points, 31-27, in the teams’ matchup during the 2017 season.

The Bobcats are 1-0 for the first time under third-year coach Jeff Choate heading into Saturday’s game on the road. The Jackrabbits were in contention for the national championship in the 2017 season but lost to James Madison in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.

After facing so much adversity early in the season, Choate likes his team going into Saturday’s showdown.

“In June we found out that the guy that was going to be the quarterback (Chris Murray) for the last two years isn’t going to be here,” Choate said. “We already lost our top two receivers: Mitch (Herbert) graduated and an injury to Jabarri (Johnson).”

“Our lead running back is now going to play quarterback (Troy Andersen) and he was a (strong-side) linebacker in the spring, so, you know, I think we’ve worked through most scenarios already,” the coach laughed.

“I think there’s a lot to improve week to week. I was under no illusions that we were going to be a finished project on Aug. 31. It was going to take some time to find our group. We’ve got a good group of guys who trust each other and understand what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Choate added.