BOZEMAN — After beating Idaho on Saturday 24-23, Montana State football coach Jeff Choate is reflecting on the big win and moving forward.
“I thought it was a really gritty performance by our team. Down 17-7 in the third quarter, came back and made some plays,” he said.
A gritty win was exactly what it took to be 5-2 heading into a defensive battle again No. 7 Weber State. But the Bobcats have a lot to look forward to, starting with the numbers running back Isaiah Ifanse has been producing.
“A guy like Isaiah, I mean, how about Isaiah? The guy didn’t even practice last week and then he’s still running like that,” Choate said of Ifanse’s 54 yards, averaging 4.1 per carry.
“It’s impressive to see a young kid like that not be selfish: ‘What do I got to do, what do I need to do? I’ll know it mentally. I’ll take care of them all,'” Choate added.
On the other side of the ball, something that has been a game changer all season for the Bobcats is the emphasis on turnovers.
“By maximizing our possessions, like I said, I’m not just talking about taking advantage of scoring opportunities. I’m talking about taking the ball away from them.” Choate said. “We’ve been pretty good about not fumbling the ball around here, and a big reason for that is because we do put a big emphasis on it. That doesn’t mean those aren’t going to come, but we definitely emphasize that and think we’re aware of that.”
But one thing that could trip up Montana State is Weber State’s ability to force turnovers. The Wildcats rank first in the Big Sky Conference in scoring defense.
However, the Bobcats are 15th in the nation in ball security with only five interceptions and one fumble.
“Their defense is good and our defense is good, so it’s going to come down to who can make the most plays, take care of the ball, make good decisions,” quarterback Troy Andersen said. “They pose a challenge.”
In their last meeting in 2016, Weber State trampled the Bobcats 45-27. A win on Saturday would be a true program booster for Montana State.
“This is another game that can be a good measuring stick for us,” Andersen said. “They were the conference co-champions last year and a really solid team this year, so if we can go down there and get a win, it can do a lot of our program and our confidence going forward.”
Kick off is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday in Stewart Stadium.