TIME, DAY, PLACE: 6 p.m. Saturday, Bobcat Stadium
VIDEO/STREAMING: ABC stations across Montana and SWX in Billings, ESPN+
RADIO: Bobcat Radio Network, msubobcats.com (Zach Mackey, Michael Rider, Dan Davies)
WEATHER: 71 degrees, chance of scattered showers
Montana State: Brent Vigen
RECORD: 0-1; YEAR: First
Vigen arrived at 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.
Drake: Todd Stepsis
RECORD: 9-8; YEAR: Third
Stepsis was Drake’s defensive coordinator for five seasons before becoming the head coach following the 2018 season. In their only full season under Stepsis in 2019, the Bulldogs were 6-5.
MONTANA STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
86 — Lance McCutcheon — WR
McCutcheon, a Bozeman product, had plenty of work last week, catching five of 11 targets for 71 yards and a touchdown. No other Bobcat was targeted more than four times. If MSU continues to maintain a run-pass balance, McCutcheon will likely continue to play a key role.
22 — Isaiah Ifanse — RB
MSU head coach Brent Vigen said after last week’s game Ifanse likely should have gotten more work, especially early. Still, Ifanse rushed for 103 yards on 16 attempts. If he carries the ball more, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound junior running back could be due for a big game.
5 — Jeffrey Manning Jr. — S
Manning played in his first game last week since transferring from Oregon State following the 2019 season. The junior picked off a pass that led to an early MSU touchdown and tallied five tackles. The Bobcats believe they can rely on him to make similar contributions moving forward.
DRAKE PLAYERS TO WATCH
9 — Ian Corwin — QB
The Bobcats are preparing for Corwin’s arm and legs. Last week, he completed 8 of 11 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown and ran four times for 35 yards and two scores. Though the Bobcats have the skill to keep up, Corwin’s dual-threat capabilities are worth keeping an eye on.
25 — Cross Robinson — RB
Vigen said Robinson, at 6-foot, 225 pounds, won’t be easy to tackle when he has the ball. Last week, he rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. In Drake’s spring season, he started five games and led the team with 301 yards and scored two touchdowns rushing.
80 — Colin Howard — WR
Howard has been a key component in Drake’s passing game. Last week, he totaled 87 receiving yards, including a 79-yarder, and a touchdown on two receptions. During the spring, the 6-1, 205-pound junior wide receiver paced the Bulldogs with 15 receptions, 256 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
- MSU is 2-1 all-time against Drake, including wins in their last two matchups. The Bobcats’ most recent win is a 34-24 triumph in 2012.
- Isaiah Ifanse’s 103-yard rushing game last week was the ninth 100-yard game of his career and the first by a Montana State player against an FBS opponent since Chad Newell at Idaho in 2016. That performance by Newell also came in a head coaching debut by Jeff Choate.
- After Texas Tech totaled 35 first downs in MSU’s 2019 season opener, the Bobcats surrendered just 17 to Wyoming.
- The 19 points Montana State allowed at Wyoming was the fewest against an FBS opponent since MSU’s 19-10 win at Colorado in 2006.
- Blake Glessner’s 53-yard field goal last week is tied for the sixth-longest in MSU history and is the school’s longest by a freshman.
- Jeffrey Manning Jr.’s interception last week marked the third time this century that a Bobcat making his program debut picked off a pass (joining CJ Adkins in 2000 and Jahque Alleyne in 2018).
- Despite starting two redshirt freshmen (Justus Perkins and TJ Session) on the offensive line, Montana State averaged four yards per carry to Wyoming’s 3.5 last week. The Bobcats also allowed just two sacks.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Montana State nearly pulled off an upset victory at Wyoming last week, and the Bobcats are anxious to earn their first win in two years. Though they lost, they displayed plenty of potential against an FBS opponent. Now they return home and will play in front of their own fans. The Bobcats should feed off the energy of their environment and earn the victory.
Pool’s pick: Montana State 42, Drake 14