BOZEMAN – The Montana State Bobcats are back in preparation mode this week as they get ready for South Dakota State. These teams met last year and it’s shaping up to be nearly the same scenario in this rematch.
It will be nearly on year to the day that these teams last squared off. On Sept. 9, 2017, the Jackrabbits visited the Bobcats in the second week of the season. Now on Sept. 8, the teams will battle it out once more, this time in Brookings, S.D.
Last year SDSU was ranked fourth when it met MSU for its Gold Rush game. Now the Jackrabbits come into Saturday’s game ranked third in the FCS. Switch the location and some personnel and this game has the same feel as last season, but the Cats want a different result.
“I wish we would have made a couple more kicks. I knew we had them and I knew if we had a chance to play them again it would be a little bit different,” said Bobcat wide receiver Willie Patterson, who was a redshirt freshman last season.
MSU had South Dakota State on the ropes, trailing the fourth-ranked team in the country by only three points heading into the final quarter. But then trickery struck when Jackrabbit kicker Chase Vinatieri, the nephew of NFL star Adam Vinatieri, ran for a 31-yard touchdown on a fake field goal late in the fourth quarter to extend SDSU’s lead to 31-21 with 4:26 left in the game.
“I remember the first time I saw the holder when he threw it back, I thought, ‘This is going to be a fake,’ and then when they ran the fake I was like, ‘No way, no way,'” said MSU offensive lineman Taylor Tuiasosopo.
On the Bobcats’ next drive they went 75 yards in nine plays, capped off by Chris Murray throwing a 26-yard touchdown to Mitch Herbert. With just 1:59 to play in the game, the Bobcats went for an onside kick.
They recovered the kick, but a penalty on the Bobcats during the kickoff would give South Dakota State the ball. MSU forced a stop and got the ball back with 50 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough time. The Cats fell 31-27 to No. 4 South Dakota State, and that loss from almost a year ago to the day is not lost on the Bobcats.
“I still have that bad taste in my mouth of that loss. They ruined our home opener and this is their home opener, so it will be a good game,” said Tuiasosopo. “They know we’re coming with a chip on our shoulder, and we know they have a lot to prove.”
South Dakota State will be officially opening up its 2018 season after its game last Saturday against Iowa State was cancelled in the first quarter due to thunderstorms. Montana State and the Jackrabbits kick off Saturday Sept. 8 and 5 p.m.