TIME, DAY, LOCATION: Friday at 8 p.m., Stewart Stadium, Ogden, Utah
RADIO: Bobcat radio network, msubobcats.com
WEATHER: 50 degrees, mostly sunny
Montana State: Brent Vigen
RECORD: 5-1; YEAR: First
Vigen arrived at MSU after seven seasons as Wyoming’s offensive coordinator. He was an assistant in several roles, including that of offensive coordinator, before that in the state of North Dakota.
Weber State: Jay Hill
REGISTRATION: 54-34; YEAR: eighth
Hill led Weber State to four straight Big Sky titles and five straight trips to the FCS playoffs. Earlier this month, he became the Wildcats’ most successful coach of all time.
MONTANA STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
72 – Session TJ – OT
Montana State’s offensive line protected quarterback Matthew McKay well and often set the stage for a powerful rushed attack. This will continue to be important against a traditionally strong Weber State defense, so Session, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound red-shirted freshman, will face a tough test this week.
80 – Treyton Pickering – TE
The Bobcats often targeted their tight ends when they won over Cal Poly a week ago. Pickering caught MSU’s first touchdown in this game, his third of the season. As the Bobcats approach the end zone, the 6-4, 237-pound second could be a scoring threat against Weber State.
15 – Troy Andersen – LB
MSU is unlikely to win again in a blowout, which means Andersen could be on the pitch for the duration of this contest. Despite taking time off when matches are out of reach, Andersen leads the team in tackles (43). He will have chances of making explosive games against a ranked opponent.
WEBER STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
10 – Bronson Barron – QB
Barron, a 6-3, 215-pound freshman, will face the MSU defense after playing two games this season after sustaining an injury. Weber State’s main courier, Kylan Weisser, came out with a broken fibula. Barron completed 58% of his passes for 303 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
22 – Rashid Shaheed – WR
Regardless of who the quarterback was, Shaheed was a go-to receiver. He leads the Wildcats with 228 yards of 13 catch to make with a touchdown. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior is also averaging 11.1 yards per punt return and 32.2 yards per punt return with a touchdown.
44 – George Tarlas – DE
Despite being a defensive lineman, Tarlas is tied for the team lead with 26 tackles. He’s also tied for Weber State’s top three sacks with two quarterback runs and two forced fumbles. Although MSU has succeeded against opposing defensive fronts, its day against Tarlas will not be easy.
– Isaiah Ifanse’s 58 rushing yards against Cal Poly brought his career total to 2,499 yards, 15th among active FCS players. Josh Davis of Weber State is seventh with 3,097 yards in 38 career games.
– Ifanse’s 110.2 rushing yards per game are seventh in the FCS, and Montana State’s 228.5 yards per game are 10th nationally. The two digits are the first in the Big Sky.
– MSU has run at least 100 yards in 31 straight games, scoring at least one rushing touchdown against 39 consecutive FCS enemies.
– The Bobcats have scored at least 30 points in five straight games, tied for the fifth longest streak in school history. The 2011 team scored 30 in nine straight games. The Bobcats have also scored 40 points in four games, the fifth most among MSU teams in a full season. The 2014 and 2015 teams each collected over 40 points on seven occasions.
–Lance McCutcheon caught a pass of at least 30 yards in all six MSU games and registered a 40-yard pass in the last five.
– MSU’s 11 interceptions and three returns for touchdowns equalize the FCS lead.
– The Bobcats are 10th in the FCS in rushing defense (117.3 yards allowed per game), fourth in passing defense (152.7), ninth in total defense (270) and third in scoring defense (11.2 points) allocated per game).
– MSU has finished the last 15 games no worse than even marginally in turnover.
– The Bobcats kept their six opponents under 20 points, 355 total yards and 20 first downs.
THE LOWER LINE
Montana State’s most formidable test against an FCS opponent so far this season is this week. The Bobcats thrived on their five-game winning streak, but they haven’t faced a team like Weber State during that time. The Wildcats will be a problem for MSU.
However, the Bobcats have shown they have the depth to win this game on the road. The Wildcats have had a tough time this season, and the Bobcats should be able to capitalize on Weber State’s mistakes and exploit its weaknesses. A victory would keep MSU among the best teams in the FCS.
Pool Pick: Montana State 24, Weber State 20