BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- Montana State coach Mike Kramer would like
to introduce fans to the 2006 Bobcat football team.
"THIS is the team we are," Kramer said Saturday after his team
upset Portland State 14-0 -- its second straight Big Sky Conference
win after three consecutive home losses.
"Those three consecutive home games -- the way we played -- that
was embarrassing. That was not us," he said.
One of those losses was a 45-0 pasting by UC Davis.
"We shut out a Big Sky team," Kramer said. "That means we've
come a long way back."
Freshman Aaron Mason rushed 34 times for 128 yards and a first
quarter touchdown and caught a 3-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter
to spark the Bobcats (3-3, 2-1 Big Sky).
But Mason may not start next weekend, with the expected return
of Evin Groves, who has missed five games with a knee injury.
"Evin Groves is a warrior and Aaron Mason understands that
Evin's a little bit better than he is," Kramer said.
Portland State (3-3, 2-2), ranked 15th in NCAA Division I-AA,
lost for the second week in a row. The Vikings fell 26-20 to
Montana last weekend, ending a nine-game home winning streak.
Montana State had several injured players return to the lineup,
including strong safety Ryan Force (shoulder), defensive tackle
Aaron Papich (knee) and wide receiver Josh Lewis (knee).
"Fourteen to nothing is not your typical Big Sky game," Kramer
said. "The return of Aaron Papich and Ryan Force is certainly key
However, the Bobcats lost quarterback Cory Carpenter for two to
three weeks with an ankle sprain, Kramer said.
"Losing Cory is a big deal and will take tremendous
adjustment," he said.
Mason, who rushed for 192 yards last weekend in a 39-32 win over
Northern Arizona, scored on a 1-yard run with 2:58 left in the
Portland State's previous drive ended with them giving the ball
over to MSU on downs. The Vikings tried to convert on fourth down
rather than attempt a 40-plus yard field goal into the wind in the
Both offenses struggled unsuccessfully to convert on third down
on the slick, muddy field through the second and third quarters.
Portland State missed a 49-yard field goal attempt in the third.
Montana State held PSU to 132 yards in total offense, less than
half its season average.
"We're a salty, swaggering, very aggressive defense now,"
Michael Beach and Bobby Daly intercepted Vikings quarterback
Sawyer Smith, who had missed the previous two games with an injury.
"It's nice to have a lot of people back," said Daly. "I knew
once we got all our pieces back we'd be playing like everyone
thought the defense would."
Carpenter completed 10-of-16 passes for 68 yards and was
intercepted by D.J. Robinson in the third quarter. Backup Jack
Rolovich played in the fourth quarter, completing 5-of-8 passes for
55 yards, including the 3-yard TD to Mason with 12:56 remaining.
"We thought they would try to throw the ball more against us,"
said Portland State coach Tim Walsh.
Donell Wheaton caught nine passes for 80 yards for the Bobcats.
"It was really hard with the weather, wet and rainy and our
hands being slippery and the ball being slippery," Wheaton said.
Smith completed 8-of-18 passes for 39 yards, while backup Brian
White, a Colorado transfer who has been with the Vikings team for
two weeks, was 2-of-7 for 34 yards.
Mu'Ammar Ali, who had missed the previous five games for PSU,
rushed 18 times for 80 yards, but other team members combined to
lose 24 yards rushing.
"Anytime you lose it's a team loss," Walsh said. "You don't
give yourself a chance to win with no points."
Wheaton said it was an emotional win.
"Kramer all week, he said we got to do it, not only for us, but
for the fans," Wheaton said.
After losing a bet on the outcome of the Super Bowl, former Trojans linebacker Su'a Cravens will have some unfortunate decoration in his room.
Arkansas loaded up on D-line prospects with four of their nine highest-rated recruits coming there, but not adding any CBs was a bit of head-scratcher.
The Blue Devils signed four ESPN 300 recruits and finished 28th in the recruiting rankings.
Several Big Ten schools have made changes to their coaching staffs, and some of the new additions are very intriguing.
The Trojans continue to recruit the state of Florida like it is an extension of California.
With work on the recruiting trail for 2016 complete, let's take a look at how well Indiana addressed its needs.