Weber State football: Wildcats gear up for Big Sky road battle at Montana State

Friday , September 29, 2017 - 5:00 AM

BRANDON GARSIDE, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Last Saturday, the No. 18 Weber State Wildcats proved they can dominate in all three phases of a football game with their 41-3 decimation of UC Davis.

Now, the question becomes if Weber State (3-1, 1-0 Big Sky) can play at the same level on the road in hostile territory — at least enough to win — as the team heads to Bozeman to take on the Montana State Bobcats (1-2, 1-0).

Even though the Bobcats weren’t seen as a threat in the coaches or media preseason polls (both had them selected to finish eighth in the Big Sky), they have been more impressive than that thus far. Last week, MSU claimed a 49-21 road win over defending conference champion North Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks came into game ranked No. 17 and were knocked out of the Top 25 altogether after the loss.

UND was without key players on defense, but Montana State held the Hawks’ offense to 102 rushing yards.


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After that performance, MSU is third in the conference in rushing yards allowed at 137 per game.

“It’s going to be a dog fight, just like every week in the Big Sky,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “They’re executing at a high level. Last week against North Dakota they did, and against South Dakota State, quite frankly, they took a really good team right down to the wire.

“It’s a good football team in our conference, what you would expect a Montana State team to be, and we’re going to have to play great to pull this one out.”

South Dakota State, ranked No. 4, escaped Montana State 31-27 after the Bobcats missed two missed field goals and had a touchdown called back after a penalty.

MSU sophomore quarterback Chris Murray is a dual-threat player who rushes for 98 yards per game, second in the Big Sky. Murray is fifth in total offense with 269 yards per game. As a whole, the Bobcat offense is second in the league with 212 rushing yards per game.

Montana State head coach Jeff Choate had nothing but praise for Hill and the Wildcats.

“I think Weber State is the most well-rounded team in the conference right now from the film that I’ve watched early in the season,” Choate said. “I know they don’t hand out trophies this early in the season, but if they were, Jay and his crew would probably be getting it. I feel like they’re the most complete team I’ve seen up to this point.”

The Wildcats and Bobcats kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will air on ROOT Sports/AT&T Sports Net, with a radio call on 1430 AM KLO.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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