BOZEMAN — The No. 3 Montana State Bobcats, looking to build on last week's 40-0 win over Weber State, are back in Bobcat Stadium for their homecoming game Saturday against Portland State.
“We got our work cut out to just go back and reset again," Bobcats coach Brent Vigen said. "Not get too high after a victory like that. Come back, get to work, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
Building on the shutout is atop the list for the Cats defense come Saturday against the Vikings.
“I think they took a different mentality this offseason to let everybody know that they’re a new defense, and they’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays on defense, and they were able to show that on Saturday," Bobcats tight end Treyton Pickering said.
Focusing on the task at hand is something they've honed in on as the season's progressed.
“Our guys just playing in the moment was a big thing," Vigen said. "And a lot of times you can let that big gain — maybe on first down, you know, maybe it’s 8, 9 yards — kind of let that affect you on the next play, and we didn’t do that.”
Linebacker Danny Uliuakepa was ejected for targeting in the third quarter of the Weber State game, so he’s required to sit out the first half of the Portland State game.
McCade O’Reilly will step in as the starter, and he had a huge hand in the defensive shutout against the Wildcats, which included a forced fumble.
“It was a big game for us," O'Reilly said. "I think it kind of put our defense out there and showing everyone that we lost a few good players, but our defense is one of the top in the country, as well.”
With quarterback Tommy Mellot still sidelined by an injury sustained in MSU's Week 2 game at No. 1 South Dakota State, Sean Chambers will again be at quarterback for the entirety of this game.
He threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 114 yards and two more TDs against Weber State, which earned him the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week.
"I think it was very impactful," Vigen said. "You throw for two. You run for two. You make a lot of plays. And there was a lot of unscripted plays within that as well. I think continuing to hone him in is what we try to keep attempting to do, understanding that he’s going to go out there and make plays that a lot of people can’t at the same time.”
Chambers connected with Pickering on his two throwing touchdowns.
"He can control the offense, and he leads us around," Pickering said of Chambers. "You know, he’s a leader by emotion. He just shows it on the field. He’s constantly making plays when plays are broken down, and they look like they’re going to be negative plays. He’s always fighting for the extra yard."
Kickoff is at 2 p.m.