BOZEMAN -- The Montana State Bobcats are facing a pivotal game in their schedule Saturday, as they host Southern Utah at home. With the Thunderbirds sitting dead last in the Big Sky Conference standings, Bobcats head coach Jeff Choate says they are better than their record leads on.
“(Southern Utah) played a really tight, competitive game against Weber State at their place, played a tight, competitive game against Cal Davis at Southern Utah and then had the big win, maybe that breakthrough moment for them, against Idaho State. So I think they are a dangerous team with a lot of momentum coming in," Choate said.
The Thunderbirds lost their last five games before defeating Idaho State 59-34 last week. In order to bounce back, Choate says it starts with the coaches.
“These guys are going to respond how we do and if we tell them and show them really, not tell them, because words are meaningless, but show them that we believe in them and have confidence in them and when plays are available, let’s call that play,” he said.
After the Bobcats fast start to the season, they now find themselves in fifth place in the Big Sky. A playoff spot is not guaranteed.
“You got (Sacramento State) and Weber State that are the cream of the crop in this league and it’s a dogfight for everyone else that wants to play postseason football. And there is three or four teams, maybe even as many as five in this league that are still in that mode,” Choate said.
But the Bobcats have been here before, late in the season making a playoff push.
“(I) almost feel more comfortable being a team that people overlook, that’s kind of an underdog," said MSU defensive lineman Derek Marks. "The pressure has always been on late in the season for us to win for us to accomplish what we want to. And so I think we kind of thrive off that and we kind of thrive off the pressure of, ‘if we want to get into the post-season, we have to turn some things around.’”
Kickoff between the Bobcats and the Thunderbirds is 12:00 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.