FCS playoffs: Bobcats face tough test

Star Staff
Friday, November 30, 2018

It doesn’t get much tougher than this. In order to advance out of the secondround of the FCS playoffs, the Montana State University football team will have to beat the undefeated, topranked defending champions on their home field.

The Bobcats play North Dakota State, a well-oiled offensive machine, in the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, on Saturday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. mountain time.

The Bison have won six of the past seven FCS championships, and own a 17-game winning streak. They are 11-0, and have won 7 games this season by more than 30 points behind quarterback Easton Stick and head coach Chris Klieman.

Stick is 129-of-216 passing with 22 touchdowns. He averages 190.2 yards passing per game, and has also rushed for 402 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He guides an offense that scores 41.2 points and gains 458.5 yards per game.

The Bison defense is led by Robbie Grimsley (five interceptions, 68 tackles), Jabril Cox (68 tackles) and Greg Menard (7.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for losses). NDSU has held opponents to an average of just 12.2 points per game this year.

The Bobcats counter with quarterback Troy Anderson, a two-way threat. Anderson has a 60 percent completion rate, and has rushed for 20 touchdowns while averaging more than 100 yards per game on the ground.

Montana State head coach Jeff Choate said in an MSU news release that North Dakota State is “arguably the stand bearer for all of college football, not just the FCS. Nobody can really match what they’ve done over the past decade.”

Montana State, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2014 as a wildcard selection, has some momentum of its own.

The Bobcats have won three straight, and are fresh off a 35-14 win over Incarnate Word in the opening round of the playoffs at Bobcat Stadium last Saturday.

The squads last met in 2010, when NDSU beat the Bobcats 42-17 in Bozeman.

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