BOZEMAN — The No. 3 Montana State Bobcats beat Portland State 38-22 in their homecoming game on Saturday.
They only led by three points at the half — 17-14 — but a second half spark propelled them to another conference win.
The Bobcats sit atop the conference, and whether home or away they are almost guaranteed to get their opponent's best shot. The rest of the Big Sky wants to spoil their dominance.
"We’re in a position with our success that we’re going to get everyone’s best shot," Bobcats coach Brent Vigen. "That’s the reality of it. You can tell your guys that all week that they got good players, we’re going to get their best shot, but until things start happening and the game unfolds, you don’t know how it’s going to play out."
Bobcats tight end Derryk Snell said that this is a notion they're reminded throughout the week.
"Obviously we’re coming off that 40-0 win over Weber it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win this game," Snell said. "I think that we had to prove ourselves this week. In the first half, I don’t think we had that mentality and then in the second half, had to prove something."
They have to manage a target on their back week after week. It’s something they don’t really think about, though. They put their head down to get the job done.
"Just go about our business," Bobcats defensive end Brody Grebe said. "We always say all the time it’s about us. It’s not about who’s coming up here. If it’s Portland State, if it’s the (Montana) Griz. It’s about us, how we play, that going to determine if we win or lose."
Snell noted that team stayed calm at halftime despite just being up 17-14, they knew they simply had to put the Vikings away in the second.
"It’s just putting in the effort," Snell said. "You want to be doing those great things for your team. That just comes down to effort. I think coach (Tyler) Walker gets us right with finishing. You know, we always talk about it, talk about finishing. You know that’s what we did in the second half too as a team, and we went out there and did what we wanted to do, and came out with the (win)."
Snell had two touchdowns in the team’s win. The tight ends have gotten into a solid rhythm the past two games, sparking the offense. Vigen looks to continue to put the ball in their hands throughout the rest of conference play.
"The way teams play us, if you want to pile it in there, those two are both good to get on the perimeter," Vigen said. "Most of those pass plays were of that nature where you essentially, kind of, suck the defense in and get Derryk or Treyton (Pickering) loose on a little short pass. And they run with it.
"So, you know, I think that’s part of our offense that didn’t show up a lot those first couple games, but will continue though because those two guys need to touch the ball and good to see them do it today."
The Cats head into their bye week and will host Cal Poly on Oct. 14.