FARGO, N.D. -- The Montana State Bobcats are set to play North Dakota State at the Fargodome in the FCS semifinals Saturday, and they'll have a couple characters rooting them on.
Joann Gibson and Judy King are two diehard MSU fans. They hit the road for Fargo on Thursday.
"My trip started on the plane. I got on Cape Air in Havre, flew to Billings, Joann came down from Livingston. I got my luggage, walked out the door and she pulled up. We put the luggage in and stayed (Thursday) night in Bismarck," King said.
The two have been friends since seventh grade and Bobcat fans longer. King's uncle, Tom Brown, played on the MSU men's basketball team in the 1940s, so she's been a Cats fan since before she was born. She was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, but that wasn't slowing her down when the Bobcats punched their ticket to the semifinals for the first time in 35 years.
"We're going to be as loud or louder (Saturday) than they are, we will. This voice carries," King said.
They'll surely be outnumbered in the Fargodome, where North Dakota State administrators are expecting a crowd of more than 18,000 fans. There figures to be a solid representation wearing blue and gold, though, including King, Gibson and some of their new friends they just met Friday night at Drekker Brewing Co. in Fargo.
Friday's get-together featured guests from across the Treasure State who shared stories, discovered mutual connections and formed plans for Saturday morning's tailgate festivities. Though Montana State faces a tall task against the juggernaut Bison, winners of 35 consecutive games and seven of the past eight FCS national championships, Cat fans didn't travel all this way to see a loss.
"Wiping the floor with them, not a doubt in my mind. Did you see them? We looked so much better than they did. I watched both (quarterfinal) games," King said, adding that Montana State coach Jeff Choate has the Bobcats firing "on all three cylinders. The (NDSU) streak is over. They're going to do an interception and then we will win in ... Frisco."
"We're going to win, and we are going to Frisco. We're going to go to the final game," added Gibson.
Montana State (11-3) and North Dakota State (14-0) will kick off at noon (MST) Saturday inside the Fargodome. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2, and the winner punches a ticket to the FCS championship scheduled for Jan. 11, 2020 at Frisco, Texas.