BOZEMAN -- If there is one man that know about championships at Montana State, it’s Dan Davies. He was a scout-team player on the 1976 Bobcat team that won a Division II national title against Akron and an assistant coach for the 1984 Bobcats who won the Division I-AA championship against Louisiana Tech.
With the 2019 Bobcats in the semifinals, Davies remembers being in that same spot with his team 35 years ago in the semis against Rhode Island.
“It was not looking good. Rhode Island was driving into seal the victory and Joe Roberts, a captain that year, intercepted a ball on the 3-yard line and took it back 97 yards for a touchdown. And the rest is history as we went to Charleston for the national championship,” said Davies.
Montana State then defeated Louisiana Tech 19-6 in the title game. Davies, who is now the senior associate athletic director at Montana State, says that when you look at the 1976 and '84 teams, you can see some likeness with this year’s Cats.
“Those guys were close on the '76 group. (There) were a lot of leaders, a lot of Montana local guys that were leaders on that team. And real similar to what this team is like here in 2019,” said Davies.
This year, the Cats are being led by two Belgrade natives on defense: Derek Marks and Brayden Konkol. Dillon's Troy Andersen hasn't played in the postseason due to injury but has been a centerpiece for MSU since his freshman year.
Davies recalls a surreal moment when the team came back to Bozeman as champions in 1984.
“The airport certainty wasn't as big as it was today, but the airport was packed with people," Davies remembered. "There was no place to park in the parking lot, (cars) were lined up all the way out to the interstate. It was a tremendous welcome when we landed there at the airport. It's so exciting to see it again. It brings back a lot of good memories and being a part of the '76 and the '84 team and of course this year is just as special."
That should carry over to Saturday as Cats fans swarm to Fargo, N.D. to see if Montana State can punch its ticket to the FCS national championship game as they face North Dakota State at noon (MST) on ESPN2.