[divider]MORE FCS FOOTBALL:
Montana State 24
Austin Peay 10
Next up: Montana State vs. NDSU/Ill State
Time/Date: Dec. 21 – 2 or 6:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN2 or ESPNU
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Isaiah Ifanse, RB, Montana State — 26 carries, 196 yds, 1 TD
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Derek Marks, DL, Montana State — 5 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 FR
FCS COACHING CHANGES: The List – And Why
THE TURNING POINT
The turning point of the contest came early in the third quarter with the Bobcats leading the contest 10-3. MSU safety Brayden Konkol picked off a tipped JaVaughn Craig pass and the MSU offense turned the short field into points shortly thereafter on a 5-yard scoring pass from Tyler Rovig to Kevin Kassis to turn a 10-3 lead into a 17-3 cushion.
In what has been a great season for the Big Sky Conference, it continued Saturday night, as Montana State ended Austin Peay’s season with a 24-10 win Friday night at Bobcat Stadium. With the win, Montana State moves onto the semifinal round of the FCS playoffs for the first time since 1984, and will face the winner of North Dakota State vs.Ilinois State next weekend. With the win, Montana State improves to 11-3 on the season, while the Governors conclude their season at 11-4.
A combination of a balanced offensive attack and a stingy, bend-but-don’t-break defense are two reasons the Bobcats see themselves moving on in the 2019 FCS playoffs. Bobcat running back Isaiah Ifanse set the tone early with a 60-yard touchdown scamper. That made it 7-0 on the opening series of the game for MSU.
A Tristan Bailey 45-yard field goal made it a 10-0 game and that’s how the first quarter would end. Meanwhile, the Bobcat defense did a number on the Austin Peay offense, holding the Governors to just 12 plays and one total yard in the opening quarter. The stout Bobcats defense limited the Govs to just 45 yards the entire game, out-gaining the visitors from Clarksville, Tenn, 386-197 in the contest, including 279-0 on the ground. MSU quarterback Tucker Rovig finished the night connecting on 13-of-20 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, while Austin Peay’s JaVaughn Craig finished out a stellar career by connecting 18-of-37 passes for 173 yards with a touchdown and two INTs.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
The Bobcats don’t know who they will be playing yet, but they know what conference from which that team will ultimately be from, as top-seeded and unbeaten North Dakota State hosts conference rival Illinois State at 12 p.m. EST in the only remaining FCS quarterfinal clash. A North Dakota State win would mean a 35th all-time meeting between the Bobcats and Bison, with MSU holding a 21-13 all-time series edge. The Bison won the last meeting between the two, which was a 52-10 decision in the FCS playoffs last season. MSU’s last win in the series came in 2005 when the Bobcats captured a 20-17 win over the Bison in Bozeman. Should Illinois State pull the upset in Fargo, it would mark a first-ever matchup between the two foes.
"I cannot say enough about our community, our campus community, the community of Bozeman, and the state of Montana. That was a lot of fun. What an unbelievable crowd, what an unbelievable atmosphere. I think the team fed off the energy all night, defensively. I want to say thank you, is what I want to do. I want to say thank you to our administrators that helped to make sure that people that wanted to come to this game could, our community businesses that chipped in, and our community at large. What an awesome environment. That was worthy of getting us to the semifinals for the first time in 35 years." – MSU Head Coach Jeff Choate
Listen to the latest episodes of B-Mac and Herd's FCS Podcast, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher and Spreaker.
SUBSCRIBE: B-Mac and Herd's FCS Podcast