FARGO, N.D. – One of the wildest Montana State Bobcats seasons in recent memory came to an end Saturday, in a place so many have over the last decade – a 52-10 loss to North Dakota State in the FargoDome.
The Cats clearly aren’t in the Bison’s class yet, but they’ve seen what it takes which has Jeff Choate and company excited about the future.
“We might be the only team in the country ever to play the Number 1, the Number 2, the Number 3, the Number 4, and the Number 5 seeds in this tournament multiple times over the last two years,” said Choate. “I think we’ve measured ourselves against the best, and I think it does help us to know what are weaknesses are and where we need to continue to improve.”
Four of the Cats five losses this year were to four of the eight teams still alive in the FCS Playoffs. Now they have to figure out how to become one of those teams.
“We’ve got to continue to develop the talent within our program,” Choate said. “We’ve got to have a tremendous offseason. We’ve got to do a good job of bringing in an influx of talent, which I think we’ve done well over the last three years.”
Lots of new faces made immediate impacts this season, starting of course with Troy Andersen. The team found out just six weeks before their opener that quarterback Chris Murray would miss the entire year, and that was expected to be that. In comes Andersen, who was a linebacker as a freshman, to set the school’s all-time single season rushing touchdowns mark with 21.
“Lot of guys with a lot of courage,” said an emotional Choate. “This guy right here played linebacker last year, all spring. Moved him to quarterback, breaks his hand Week 1. Some of the adversity these guys overcame, it’s going to carry them, not just through what happens between the white lines, it’s going to carry them well past that.”
Just not quite yet. Most of this team returns next year, with higher expectations than they’ve had in a long time.
“I’m really excited to get back out there,” said junior wide receiver Kevin Kassis. “I’m bummed I have to wait eight more months to get back out there with these guys, but it’s a lot of fun and we look forward to it.”
Montana State will have a huge opportunity to show the improvements they’ve made next offseason. The Cats open the 2019 season against Texas Tech on August 31.