Players to watch and game info for Montana State-UT Martin | Montana State Bobcats
TIME, DAY, PLACE: 2 p.m. Saturday, Bobcat Stadium
RADIO: Bobcat Radio Network, msubobcats.com
WEATHER: 56 degrees, mostly cloudy
Montana State: Brent Vigen
RECORD: 9-2; YEAR: First
Vigen came to MSU after seven seasons as Wyoming’s offensive coordinator. He was an assistant in several roles, including offensive coordinator, before that at North Dakota State.
UT Martin: Jason Simpson
RECORD: 100-79; YEAR: 16th
Simpson was a four-time Eddie Robinson Award finalist. He led the Skyhawks to two Ohio Valley championships and is the conference’s longest-serving head coach.
MONTANA STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
22 — Isaiah Ifanse — RB
Ifanse had a season low in rushing yards with 50 in MSU’s previous game at Montana, but was pulled a week out with an injury. With a week off, Ifanse had more time to recover. The Bobcats will want to rely on him to get their offense back on track.
86 – Lance McCutcheon – WR
McCutcheon has been a constant target. Big Sky’s all-team first-team selection will be looking to continue their playoff success. As the Bobcats look to become more balanced, McCutcheon’s presence could help unbalance the UT Martin defense.
3 — Amandre Williams — DE
Although the match did not result in a win, Williams thrived against Montana. He had four tackles, including a sack, and was disruptive throughout the contest. The Bobcats’ defensive front has been strong all season, so Williams will be looking to have another playoff standout game.
UT MARTIN PLAYERS TO WATCH
23 – Peyton Logan – RB
UT Martin is eighth in the FCS with 219.4 rushing yards per game. Logan is the Skyhawks’ leader on the field. The 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior had 1,050 yards and four touchdowns on 143 carries. The Bobcats’ run defense has been strong all season, and they’ll need to build on that momentum against the Skyhawks.
21 – Zak Wallace – RB
Wallace is another pressing threat the Bobcats need to address to take control of the game. As Logan leads the Skyhawks in rushing, Wallace has been a constant scoring threat. At 6 feet, 220 pounds, the redshirt rookie has 15 touchdowns and 788 yards on 142 carries.
11 – Donnell Williams – WR
With Walter Payton Award finalist and Ohio Valley Offensive Player of the Year Keon Howard released last week at Missouri State, UT Martin has turned to Dresser Winn at quarterback. Williams still excelled and had seven receptions for 178 yards and a score. He caught 29 passes for 457 yards this season.
– Montana State will make its third straight FCS playoff appearance on Saturday.
– The Bobcats and UT Martin have never met before. This is the third straight season that MSU’s playoff opener has been against a first-time opponent.
– UT Martin is 18th in the FCS with 26 takeouts, while Montana State is tied for the national lead in the fewest revenue losses.
– After qualifying for the playoffs twice before, the Bobcats have made 10 appearances since 2002.
–Montana State leads the Big Sky in rushing offense (218.5 yards per game) while UT Martin has the best rushing defense in the Ohio Valley (128.7 yards allowed per game). MSU’s 5.2 yards per carry is 10th in the FCS, while UT Martin’s 5.49 is seventh.
–Montana’s 29 points in the MSU regular season finale were the most by a Bobcats opponent this season. No team has totaled more than 355 total yards against MSU.
– MSU finished second in the Big Sky this season, the fourth straight time the Bobcats have improved their standings.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Montana State is eager to respond after its previous game. The Bobcats ended their regular season with a disappointing loss to rival Montana. Since then, they have been eager to return to the field.
That should be evident in this week’s game. The Bobcats used the bye week to recuperate and prepare for a run in the FCS playoffs. It will start with a win over UT Martin.
Pool pick: Montana State 33, UT Martin 20