BOZEMAN — Following a narrow win on the road against Northern Arizona, this week has been all about getting back to the basics for Montana State.
Simply put, head coach Brent Vigen felt like the Bobcats may have been trying to do too much against the Lumberjacks rather than just doing their 1/11.
During Monday's presser, he stated 'that’s not the nature of winning football games,' and that the need to fix that is necessary heading into the final two games of the regular season.
“I think everybody’s just got to be out there doing their job and understand it’s about that," Vigen said. "I think we got a little bit off the rails there in that game with maybe a couple of plays here and there where guys were trying to do too much.”
Giving up explosive plays on defense has been the Achilles heel for Montana State this fall, and it nearly cost them the game this past Saturday, letting Northern Arizona break free with 10 — three of which resulted in touchdowns.
(Note: Explosive plays are defined as a completed pass of more than 15 yards or a rush attempt of more than 12.)
“I know we have to play better moving forward, and that’s what this opportunity this week against Cal Poly will provide," he added.
With the Mustangs also running a pass-first offense very similar to Northern Arizona, containing redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Brasch is the Bobcats’ highest priority this Saturday.
“You know, they’re throwing for over 300 yards a game and he’s a big reason why," Vigen explained. "Very talented, and I think they’re dangerous. You match what they’re doing passing wise and then you just look at our last game and what we gave up passing-wise, we have to figure that out.”
Cal Poly's passing game ranks them second in the Big Sky just below UC Davis with 301.3 yards per game, but on the flip side, the Mustangs have the worst rush attack in the conference (92.3 yards/per game).
However, even though their 1-8 record might be a sight to gloss over, Vigen isn’t taking this Week 11 game lightly.
“A team like this late in the season when they haven’t won a conference game, they get an opportunity to play a team who hasn’t lost a conference game, that’s a great opportunity for them. We have to be prepared to withstand what they give us I know that.”
Montana State at Cal Poly kicks off Saturday night under the lights at 6 p.m. Mountain Time, which will be televised on the Montana Television Network.