Montana State Bobcats in preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 3 South Dakota State

Posted at 9:33 PM, Sep 06, 2018
Montana State returner Kevin Kassis instructs a blocker during a crucial 32-yard punt return against Western Illinois at Bobcat Stadium. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)

BOZEMAN — The Montana State Bobcats are 1-0 heading into the weekend where they will face a new challenge out of the Missouri Valley Conference: the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State.

The Jackrabbits were back-to-back semifinalists in the FCS playoffs and are returning a solid team, including a four-year starter at quarterback in Taryn Christion.

“Just a prolific player, has all the tools,” MSU coach Jeff Choate said of Christion. “He’s a big guy, 6-3, 6-4, 220-pound guy. He can run the ball really effectively, he’s a tremendous passer.”

In their last meeting at Bobcat Stadium in 2017, the Bobcats were on the verge of an upset but came up short in a 31-27 loss. According to MSU safety Brayden Konkol, the loss was due to not being able to make defensive stops, and that is something he still thinks about.

“All their third downs were 3rd-and-short,” Konkol said. “So our first and second downs we have to be way better. We have to get them to 3rd-and-longs, so we have to be better on the mix downs.”

This will also be South Dakota State’s first game of the season after a cancellation on Saturday against Iowa State, which may prompt an advantage for the Bobcats.

“I think it helps us in a sense where we got a lot of the wrinkles out, game experience,” Konkol said. “But it hurts us because we’ve got some guys dinged up, they’re fresh. It goes both ways.”

Kickoff is at 5 p.m. (Mountain Time) in Dana J. Dykehouse Stadium at Brookings, S.D.