Players to watch and match info for Sam Houston-Montana State | Montana State Bobcats

THE BASICS

TIME, DAY, LOCATION: 6:30 p.m. MT, Saturday, Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, Huntsville, Texas

Television: ESPN+

RADIO: Bobcat Radio Network, msubobcats.com

WEATHER: 59 degrees, cloudy

COACHES

Montana State: Brent Vigen

RECORD: 10-2; 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.






K.C. Keeler


Sam Houston: KC Keeler

FILE: 254-95-1; YEAR: 27

Keeler led Sam Houston to the FCS Championship in the spring. Before becoming head coach of the Bearkats in 2014, he coached at Delaware and Rowan.

MONTANA STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH

16 – Tommy Mellott – QB

Mellott made his first career start for the Bobcats in the second round of the FCS playoffs last week against UT Martin. While rushing for 180 yards, he was inconsistent as a passer, finishing the game 8 of 20. MSU hopes the Butte rookie can continue to improve the more time he has to develop.

47 – Callahan O’Reilly – LB

O’Reilly was often around the ball last week. He led the Bobcats with 10 tackles and broke a pass against UT Martin. He’s second on the team with 79 tackles this year and has two interceptions. We will count on the Bozeman junior to help limit Sam Houston’s explosive offense.






Soccer MSU UTM

Montana State linebacker Callahan O’Reilly points and nearly intercepts a UT Martin pass during an FCS playoff game December 4 at Bobcat Stadium.




9 — Simeon Woodard — CB

The true San Antonio freshman needed little time to make an impact as he quickly earned a starting spot. Last week he was second on the team with six tackles. He also intercepted a pass and broke two others. He hopes to help MSU stop Sam Houston’s passing attack.

SAM HOUSTON PLAYERS TO WATCH

3 – Eric Schmid – QB

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior threw for 2,464 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 57.3% of his throws. He also has 338 rushing yards. The Bobcats have had success against standout quarterbacks before, but Schmid provides a tough test given the Bearkats’ balance.

9 – Cody Chrest – WR

The Bearkats are third in the FCS with 43 points per game and fourth with 496.1 total rushing yards. It’s partly because of Chrest. He beats the Bearkats with 640 yards on 46 receptions and five touchdowns. Schmid can often look to the 6-1, 200-pound graduate transfer from Harvard.

11 – Ramon Jefferson – RB

The Bearkats are sixth in the FCS with 241.7 rushing yards per game. Jefferson is among six Sam Houston players who have rushed for more than 100 yards this year. The 5-foot-10, 215-pound junior leads Sam Houston with 1,138 yards and 13 touchdowns on 162 attempts.

HIGHLIGHTS

– Sam Houston is 4-2 against Montana State, 2-1 at Huntsville, with the two most recent games (34-16 at MSU in 2012 and 49-13 at Sam Houston in 2011) in the playoffs.

– Sam Houston is MSU’s second most common playoff opponent with this third playoff matchup between the two. The Bobcats have played four times in North Dakota State and twice in New Hampshire.

– Montana State’s only win at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium was a 15-10 victory in 1989, while MSU lost 23-6 in 1986 and 49-13 in 2011.

–Brent Vigen’s 10 wins are the third in Big Sky history by a school freshman coach (after Montana’s Mick Dennehy and Joe Glenn) and the most by a Bobcats freshman coach .

–Montana State’s rushing offense is seventh in the FCS with 232.6 yards per game, while Sam Houston’s fourth rushing defense allows 75.7 yards per game.

– Isaiah Ifanse’s 1,434 rushing yards this season is third in FCS.

– Montana State is sixth in the FCS with 163.1 passing yards allowed per game, while Sam Houston throws for 254.4 yards per game, 26th in the nation.

– The Bobcats defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last seven quarters.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Montana State, even with freshman Tommy Mellott making his quarterback debut, played well enough to earn a convincing victory in the second round of the FCS playoffs. The Bobcats’ running game was thriving and their defense continued to be successful.

The Bobcats have the potential to upset Sam Houston in this contest. If those elements of managing the ball effectively and playing solid defense remain, it could lead to a close game. The Bearkats secondary has also been vulnerable at times, so Mellott’s development will be crucial.

But ultimately, the Bearkats have championship-level experience. They are balanced in attack and strong up front on both sides of the ball. They will also likely have a home advantage.

Pool pick: Sam Houston 27, Montana State 24

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