Weeks worth of speculation is now official.
Montana State is heading to the FCS football playoffs. The bracket was announced Sunday morning and the 23rd-ranked Bobcats will host Incarnate Word (6-4) in the first round on Nov. 24. Kickoff at Bobcat Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. The winner will play top-seeded North Dakota State in the second round.
To view the complete bracket, please click here.
MSU ended the regular season winning its final three games to finish 7-4, which is seemingly the magic number to earn a playoff berth. The Bobcats defeated rival Montana 29-25 in a thriller at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday.
Montana State is making its first playoff appearance since 2014 and first under head coach Jeff Choate. Choate took over the program after the 2015 season and has won all three Cat-Griz games during his tenure. The Bobcats finished 4-7 in 2016, 5-6 in 2017 and 7-4 this season.
“I think you take a look at the body of work and you take a look at, you hear a lot about it, you hear about the bad losses, and you don’t see one on our resume,” MSU director of athletics Leon Costello told MTN Sports on Saturday. “And I think if you take a look at how we ended the season, winning three straight on high note and obviously coming in here in a very hostile atmosphere and coming back, just the way it all happened, I think this team is destined for some great things, and I think we deserve a shot to keep playing.”
Weber State (9-2) got the Big Sky Conference’s automatic bid to the playoffs and was given the No. 2 overall seed. The Wildcats will get a first-round bye and face Southeast Missouri State or Stony Brook in the second round.
Eastern Washington (9-2) and UC Davis (9-2) shared the conference title with Weber State, and both teams get first-round byes in the FCS playoffs. Third-seeded Eastern Washington will play Nicholls State or San Diego in the second round, and sixth-seeded UC Davis will face Northern Iowa or Lamar.
The FCS playoffs begin on Nov. 24 and conclude at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Jan. 5, 2019.
North Dakota State is the defending champion and has won six of the past seven titles.
ESPN owns exclusive rights to the FCS playoffs, and all games will be broadcast on ESPN networks.