Montana state’s path to the playoffs had been decided about an hour ago, and the film of his next opponents was already being downloaded.
The Bobcats were eager to move on to the next phase of their campaign. On the FCS playoff selection show earlier Sunday morning, the top four teams were announced quickly and MSU expected to be one of the next four.
As the fifth, sixth and seventh teams were in the spotlight, MSU head coach Brent Vigen felt some nervous energy. But then his team was on screen at the Bobcat Sports Complex, and the players erupted.
The Bobcats were excited and relieved to receive a pass in the first round of the FCS playoffs. They will host a game at 2 p.m. on December 4 at Bobcat Stadium.
The Bobcats won nine straight games before losing their regular season final to Montana last week.
âThere was a lot to do in this game yesterday, and we failed. We’re not happy with that, âVigen said on Sunday. âWe have to go back to the drawing board. We need to come out of our analysis yesterday with some answers as to what we need to do to finally put our best foot forward, starting next Saturday.
The Bobcats will host the winner of a first-round match between UT Martin (9-2) at Missouri State (8-3). If the Bobcats win, they could play against No. 1 seed Sam Houston, winner of the FCS spring season championship.
The Missouri state head coach is Bobby Petrino, a native of Helena who has been a head coach in Louisville, Arkansas and western Kentucky. He was also the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 before moving to Arkansas.
âWe have to do what we’ve been doing all year. We have to have a great week of preparation, âsaid Petrino in an interview on ESPNU.
âWe’ve kind of had a chip on our shoulder all year round,â he added. âWe feel like we’ve been underestimated throughout the year. We’re just going to go out and play like we’ve always done with a big chip on our shoulder.
Montana State offensive lineman Lewis Kidd thinks it doesn’t really matter which part of the range a team lands on. At this point, each program showcased talent.
âAnyone can beat anyone,â Kidd said. âIf you look past an opponent or do something crazy like that, you’re going to be in trouble. Whoever is coming to Bozeman in a few Saturdays, we’ll prepare for it.
Vigen knows the state of Missouri well. He was a coach at the same conference in North Dakota State.
The Bears were second in the Missouri Valley. Vigen credited them for playing NDSU and Oklahoma State well, two games that ended in one possession.
UT Martin won the Ohio Valley Championship. Vigen stressed that it takes consistency to win a conference.
âYou have to be as prepared as possible. There is literally no tomorrow. Compared to the result, it’s winning or going home. You have to go out there and be able to play freely, to play with confidence, to play fast, âsaid Vigen. “The moment cannot be too big for us, because with each of these moments to come, there will also be a lot at stake.”
As he won the national championships at the NDSU, Vigen learned how isolated the playoffs are from the rest of the season. A win, he said, means nothing about the outcome of a game the following week.
But it’s not easy for the Bobcats to move on. They lost 29-10 in the 120th Cat-Griz clash.
âIt’s tough. It’s tough,â Kidd said. âWe agree it wasn’t our best game so pretty unhappy. But at the end of the day it’s a new season.
Vigen has consistently emphasized throughout the regular season that the Bobcats approach each week with a focused mindset. They didn’t dwell on the past or think too far.
This ultimately allowed them to win nine straight games. Vigen also wants them to build on that kind of playoff thinking. He told them their last game couldn’t impact the Bobcats’ remaining opportunities.
At the same time, Vigen doesn’t want the Bobcats to just forget about last week’s game. They seek to learn from their mistakes and improve themselves.
This makes the bye of the first round an opportune time. Kidd pointed out that players face grueling mental and emotional toll over the course of a season. Some free time, especially with loved ones during the holidays, could be helpful.
The Bobcats will also have more free time to train, lift weights and watch a movie of their next opponent.
” Today is a new day. The sun came up this morning and we knew we were going to have the opportunity to move on, âsaid Vigen. “We definitely have to resume our performance from yesterday.”
The Bobcats will also have more time to heal. Ty Okada, a defensive back who is third on MSU with 66 tackles, was slow to get up and left the game after an attempted punt block in Montana. Vigen believes Okada will be back for the next Bobcats contest.
James Campbell and Tyrel Thomas, some of MSU’s best cornerbacks, also didn’t play last week. Vigen said Thomas “continued to have setbacks” after his knee surgery in August and was unsure if he would play on December 4. Campbell is in good health, but after missing part of the season, he is looking to come back. to be fully prepared.
âWe have to get James rolling,â Vigen said. âBasically your comfort, your confidence, these are all things we work on with him, and he’s a competitive kid. So expect him to continue to make this progress to make an impact as we move forward. “
While Kidd wasn’t happy with the Montana State game last weekend, he said the playoff success “would help a lot.”
âWe’re not going to let him define us,â Kidd said. âWe will bounce back. We become stronger, we will learn from it and we will go for a run. This is what we plan to do.