BOZEMAN – The Montana State Bobcats dominated all three phases of the game in a 35-14 win over Incarnate Word in the first round of the FCS football playoffs at Bobcat Stadium Saturday.
Special teams scored the game’s opening touchdown on a blocked punt; the defense forced four takeaways; and the offense found success on big plays throughout the game to capitalize on those turnovers.
“It seems like it’s contagious,” said head coach Jeff Choate. “You just need to get a couple and then pretty soon guys believe, you see them ripping the ball out, like Brayden (Konkol) did (Saturday), or they high-point it in the end zone in a Cover 2, so good things are going on right now.”
“We feed off that. It’s mandatory to score once they get a turnover, as soon as they get a turnover,” echoed wide receiver Travis Jonsen. “Everyone’s mentality changes: ‘We’re scoring, we’re scoring, and we’re not taking anything else.'”
The turnovers created a ton of energy for the Cats, but quarterback Troy Andersen said what really gets them fired up is the confidence they get from their coaching staff.
“I think we have great coaching, we really do,” said Andersen. “You sit down and talk with coach Choate, he’ll probably do most of the talking for a couple hours, but he definitely knows his football, and all of our coaches are the same way. If you ever really want to learn something about it, you can just go up to their offices and hang out and talk.”
The question now is, can Montana State keep that momentum rolling? The Cats travel to No. 1 North Dakota State in the FCS Round of 16 on Dec. 1. The teams last met in the 2010 playoffs, when NDSU ended MSU’s season 42-17.