Thanks to recent losses by Cal Poly and Eastern Washington, the Montana State Bobcats are right back in the hunt for a third straight Big Sky Conference championship.
And with two games to go, MSU is hoping for not just another Big Sky title, but also a top seed in the upcoming Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The No. 2 Bobcats (5-1, 8-1) are at home for the final time this regular season when they host the Portland State Vikings (2-4, 3-6) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bobcat Stadium. It will be senior day at MSU and the Cats are hoping to send their seniors out with one more big win.
MSU is coming off a thrilling road win over Sacramento State last Saturday night. MSU hung on to beat the upstart Hornets with two fourth-quarter interceptions, and defense will again play a key role for the Cats this weekend.
Senior defensive tackle Zach Minter is bothered by a hamstring injury but he’s expected to go against the Vikings, and once again lead a defense which is one of the stingiest in the Big Sky. The Cats are allowing a scant 21 points per game, which is second in the league, and they are first in total defense. Add to that the fact MSU leads the conference in scoring at 36 points per game, to go along with a healthy Cody Kirk at running back, and MSU is looking like a team which could play deep into December.
But PSU stands in the way of MSU’s immediate goals. The Vikings have won just two league games this weekend and are coming off a stunning loss to Northern Colorado at home last weekend. But they still have one of the best running backs in the Big Sky in D.J. Adams, as well as a dual-threat quarterback in Kiernan McDonough. And, they’ve played very well against MSU the last two times out.
So there’s no doubt MSU head coach Rob Ash, and his Bobcats won’t be taking the Vikings lightly, and they won’t be looking ahead to next Saturday’s huge showdown with Montana in Missoula.
The Bobcats and Vikings will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Bozeman. The game can be seen locally and nationally on Root Sports Northwest. The Montana Grizzlies have a bye this week, ahead of the 112th Brawl of the Wild Nov. 17.