3 Matchups I'm Watching: Montana State

 (Photo Courtesy of Larry Sellers)

Earlier this week we broke down what you can expect from Montana State. Their local sports station did a nice half hour podcast that featured Jeff Choate's, the head coach, press conference earlier this week along with what the broadcasters expect out of SDSU.  It was a pretty insightful podcast and I would encourage any fan to take the time and listen to it.   

So here are the 3 match-ups that have my attention.

1. Jackrabbit OLB's vs. QB Chris Murray and the option.
  • Logan Backhaus looked great last week against Duquesne.  He was all over the field making plays.  Two plays that stand out to me are his great open field tackle and diving interception at the boundary.  Eric Kleinschmit was also making his first start.  Although he was pinned inside on an early 16 yard PJ Filmore run he rebounded to have a nice game finishing with 2 tackles including one for a loss.  Against the option they will have to be disciplined with their assignments.  They will have to trust the interior to stop the dive and focus on the outside.  Murray is an electric athlete and any misstep could result in 6.   As I mentioned in the preview, Montana State gets most of their passing yardage through large chunks off of the play action. The TE averaged an astounding 25 yards per reception last year and other receivers all averaged over 12.

2.   Jackrabbit Passing Attack vs. Montana State Defense
  • In their week one contest, Montana State basically played prevent defense against the high-powered Washington State offense.  On the aforementioned ESPN Radio show, Choate hinted that they might do that again.  I would certainly expect Jake Wieneke  to have double coverage or at least a safety over the top on him all day.  Choate couldn't say enough good things about him.  If they do double him, that will leave extra room for Goedert, Anderson, Lewis, Brown, and Wilde to work.  They will have to make plays.  If they do play basic prevent, the run game will have to be effective and Taryn will have to be patient taking the underneath yardage and letting his receivers catch and run.  

3.  Jackrabbit Offensive Tackles vs. the noise of Bobcat Stadium

  • This game is the first home game for Montana State and is their annual "Gold Rush" game.  Last year they played an unranked Bryant University for Gold Rush and had 18,867 in attendance.  On Wednesday their athletic program tweeted that the student tickets were "Sold Out".  Also on Wednesday, Matt Zimmer had a tweet that showed the team indoors practicing with the sound cranked in the SJAC.

It is going to be loud but the Jacks should be used to playing in this type of environment having traveled to Fargo nearly every year.  The Jacks may also be breaking in a new right tackle if started Tyler Weir can't go.  Evan Greeneway and Eagan Lickiss both performed really well in week one and would be more than capable of stepping in at the right tackle position if Weir can't go. As I shared in the game preview, it will be important to get out to an early lead, just to force Montana State out of their offensive game plan.  But this is also important to take the crowd out of it and make it easier for the offense to hear the snap count and get off the ball.

Should be a fun matchup but I'm still sticking with my prediction of a Jackrabbit victory 34-13.

Go Jacks!


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