FCS Playoffs

‘Cats preparing as favored seed with Albany coming to town

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BOZEMAN, Montana — For most of the first four seasons under Jeff Choate, the Montana State football team has played with a distinct chip on its collective shoulder.

Choate has used slogans and sayings like “drag our opponents into deep water and let them drown” and “don’t ever back a Bobcat into a corner.” Last season, MSU experienced a breakthrough, making the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and winning a playoff game for the first time since 2012.

That Bobcat team won eight games before running into the juggernaut that is North Dakota State in the second round of last season’s FCS playoffs. This season, Montana State finds itself in a new realm with the playoffs descending upon the Gallatin Valley for the second straight season.

A 48-14 walloping of rival Montana in Bozeman two weeks ago stamped a 9-3 regular-season for the Bobcats. Montana State earned the No. 5 seed in the playoff bracket and the first-round bye that comes along with it. MSU is the decided favorite entering Saturday’s game against No. 25 Albany — Vegas odds makers have the ‘Cats at nine-point favorites — yet the Bobcats are trying to embrace the same mentality that has helped them win 10 of their last 12 games in November over the last three seasons and 12 of 15 November games under Choate overall.

BOZEMAN, Montana — For most of the first four seasons
under Jeff Choate, the Montana State football team has played with a distinct
chip on its collective shoulder.

Choate has used slogans and sayings like “drag our opponents
into deep water and let them drown” and “don't ever back a Bobcat into a
corner.” Last season, MSU experienced a breakthrough, making the playoffs for
the first time since 2014 and winning a playoff game for the first time since
2012.

That Bobcat team won eight games before running into the
juggernaut that is North Dakota State in the second round of last season’s FCS
playoffs. This season, Montana State finds itself in a new realm with the
playoffs descending upon the Gallatin Valley for the second straight season.

A 48-14 walloping of rival Montana in Bozeman two weeks ago stamped a 9-3 regular-season for the Bobcats. Montana State earned the No. 5 seed in the playoff bracket and the first-round bye that comes along with it. MSU is the decided favorite entering Saturday’s game against No. 25 Albany — Vegas odds makers have the ‘Cats at nine-point favorites — yet the Bobcats are trying to embrace the same mentality that has helped them win 10 of their last 12 games in November over the last three seasons and 12 of 15 November games under Choate overall.

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Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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