BOZEMAN — No. 3-ranked Montana State is coming off a heartbreaking 20-16 loss to No. 1-ranked South Dakota State last week in Brookings, S.D.
Sean Chambers appeared to throw a game-winning touchdown to Clevan Thomas Jr. as time expired, but it was be overturned as replay officials ruled Thomas was out of bounds after watching the replay.
With one second put back on the clock, the Bobcats were not able to convert on their final play of the game.
They will now use that loss of fuel the rest of this season, starting on Saturday with their final non-conference game. They'll take on Stetson of the Pioneer Football League in Bobcat Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
“The feeling after this Saturday, I would go to war against anybody with this team," Bobcats safety Rylan Ortt said. "With the type of effort we gave, how together the team was the entire time. There was no bickering on the sideline about people not doing their job, it was just like alright let’s do the next play, and we’re going to play as hard as we can and as fast as we can, and as physical as we can, so that’s the biggest thing.”
The Bobcats were proud of the physicality they brought to Brookings, but fixing the mental errors that caused thing like multiple false starts in the SDSU game, is something they’ve already started working on.
“We've got to fix that," Bobcats coach Brent Vigen said. "We got to be louder at quarterback. We got to be louder at quarterback, more dialed into the trigger. We need to hear, and that just wasn’t happening at the rate it needed to that game, and it cost us.”
Bobcats offensive guard Omar Aigbedion reflected his coach's thoughts. The team wants to keep being as physical as possible, while dialing in the mental aspect of the game.
“When you’re physical, you also got to lock in on your technique and your assignment because those two things go hand in hand," Aigbedion said. "I definitely think we brought the physicality to the game, but we definitely want to improve on our mental aspect.”
Quarterback Tommy Mellott went out with what appeared to be a leg injury on Saturday and was still being evaluated early in the week, according to Vigen.
“His situation, not being able to finish that game was due to injury, obviously, and he’s continuing to be evaluated," Vigen said Monday. "Haven’t definitive gotten word on what that evaluation’s going to be as of us talking right now, but obviously concerning. Tommy is a key part to our success.”
Their opponent, Stetson, is traveling across the country from DeLand, Florida, which is north of Orlando. The Hatters are 2-0 this season.
“They’re aggressive," Vigen said. "Their 3-3-5 defense is very aggressive in nature. And then on the offensive side of the ball, they have the ability to be explosive. They’ve shown that in these first two games, and any team that comes here, we have to put our best foot forward, and really this week as we complete the non conference schedule, we got to come out of it better, so we are prepared for Big Sky play.”
MSU kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday against Stetson at Bobcat Stadium.