BILLINGS – The University of Incarnate Word football program was scheduled to play at Iowa State a week from Saturday on Dec. 1 but has opted out of that game upon learning of its playoff pairing this week at Montana State.
The announcement was made Tuesday on the school’s website.
“I talked to (head coach Eric Morris) and he is laser-focused on Saturday’s game at Montana State,” UIW Director of Athletics Dr. Brian Wickstrom said in the release. “We want him to be able to stay focused on the FCS Playoffs and making it to the next round, so Iowa State has found another opponent to play on December 1.”
The Cardinals added Iowa State in September to help the Cyclones replace their season-opener against South Dakota State that was cancelled due to lightning. Iowa State will now host Drake on Dec. 1.
Morris is in his first year as head coach of the Cardinals after arriving last December from Texas Tech where he’d spent the previous five seasons as offensive coordinator for the high-scoring Red Raiders. He also played wide receiver at Texas Tech between 2005-08. Morris was recently named Southland Conference coach of the year after reviving a 1-10 team to 6-4 in a single season.
It turns out Bobcats head coach Jeff Choate knows Morris fairly well.
“I can’t speak enough about the job that Eric Morris has done there, he’s turned this program around in a year,” Choate said. “I got to work with Eric one year at Washington State University. He was our inside receivers coach, which is kind of the right-hand man to coach (Mike) Leach in that system, and he’s a guy that played for Coach Leach at Texas Tech, he’s a Texas native. Quite honestly, he’s a good guy and I enjoyed my time with him, we had a good relationship working together. It’ll be fun to see him in Bozeman.”
Saturday’s game at Montana State is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff. It will be televised on ESPN3.