BOZEMAN, Mont. - For the second year in a row MSU's season comes to a close at the hands of Sam Houston State and while the Bobcats said they felt prepared for this game, it was very clear that the Bearkats were in control.
"Coach always tells us it's a business trip and we're not here to have fun, we're here to take care of business, get a win and get back home and move onto the next round, and fortunately that's what we did tonight," Sam Houston St. quarterback Brian Bell said.
The Bearkats were all business, racking up 458 yards on offense. But unlike last season it wasn't just on the ground, Bell used his legs, and most importantly his arm to beat the Bobcats.
"They had made a commitment to that in the off-season, we knew that coming in but you have to choose your poison and we always choose to stop the run and hopefully get the pass stopped in long yardage situations and they just hit the pass plays that they needed to," MSU Coach Rob Ash said.
"I've got a lot of respect for that dude, just being kind of a little scrawny guy, but he's a good football player and he was out there commanding that offense around," said senior defensive end Caleb Schreibeis.
DeNarius McGhee felt pressure from Sam Houston's defense the entire game, he was sacked five times, and forced to scramble a number of other times.
"They were able to get pressure on me, they did bring some blitzes, but we have to, and I have to know exactly where to go with the ball whenever we do get those blitzes. There was a couple I hesitated on and it really cost us," McGhee, who threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, said.
McGhee made it clear that a trip to the quarterfinals wasn't enough for this team's expectations.
"To tell you the truth it's championship or bust. In this program our expectations are extremely high but we'll never lower expectations for anything," he said.
While the players and coaches are surely disappointed about how things ended friday night, they should look back on the season with a smile know they did an incredible job. And they'll be licking their chops to get back on the field next season.
Game notes: Sam Houston St. quarterback Brian Bell accounted for 287 total yards for the Bearkats....MSU starting running back Cody Kirk was limited due to injury, he rushed the ball just once all game.....Bobcat punter Rory Perez accounted for five rushing yards on a fourth down punt fake that led to MSU's lone touchdown, a run by McGhee....The senior class for MSU leaves the program as the winningest class in school history.....Sam Houston St. will take on the winner of Eastern Washington/Illinois St. in the semifinals.