FCS Playoffs

Physicality Choate has long coveted emerging for Bobcats

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BOZEMAN — The final margin of victory belied the emergence of the identity Jeff Choate has been coveting.

In the first matchup against the Idaho Vandals in nearly 25 years, Montana State eked out a 24-23 win at Bobcat Stadium. Despite winning by one point, MSU physically dominated the football game, allowing the Vandals less than four yards per play even though Idaho possessed the football for more than 37 minutes. Montana State won at the point of attack, in the trenches and on the perimeter when it came to the battle of blows.

The following week, Montana State punched Weber State in the mouth and went swing for swing with a team widely considered one of the most violent and hard-hitting teams in the FCS. MSU and the No. 2 Wildcats went into the fourth quarter in Ogden, Utah tied 24-24 before MSU faded in a 34-24 WSU win.

From that point in the 2018 season on, Montana State’s physicality has been its biggest advantage. The Bobcats have used a bruising, bulldozing mentality along its offensive line to rush for more than 310 yards per game the last five contests. MSU has used a frenzy of takeaways to set up its once-anemic offense to help the unit evolve into one that has averaged 33 points per game over that same stretch.

The physical football that Choate, MSU’s third-year head coach, has favored since his time as a linebacker at Montana Western is finally starting to take form in his current Bobcats.

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Brooks Nuanez contributed to the reporting of this story. 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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