Cats Ready to Finally Play Again Against Eastern Washington - News, Sports and Weather

Cats Ready to Finally Play Again Against Eastern Washington

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It may not go down as a conference game, but when Montana State and Eastern Washington meet on the red turf this Saturday, a bitter Big Sky rivalry will be renewed. 

"I think it's a marquee game in the western half of the United States," said Cats head coach Rob Ash. "I think it's a marquee game actually nationally, as far as FCS football is concerned. It's two teams that are perennially in the playoffs, teams that are regional rivals, bus trip rivals, and teams that simply have to play. It wouldn't be a season without playing Eastern Washington."  

This isn't a new rivalry. Both programs have met on the gridiron every year since 1982, with the Eagles winning the last three. There will be a new look to Saturday's game, as long time Eagle quarterback Vernon Adams has moved on to Oregon.   

"That's the thing with Eastern Washington, it doesn't matter who's at the helm," said Ash. "They're going to be successful. Every year their quarterback, whoever is running the show, is going to put up big numbers."  

Putting up those big quarterback numbers are both Jordan West and Riley Hennessey. Not surprisingly, they've targeted Cooper Kupp who leads the nation in receiving yards and touchdown receptions.

"We all know he's a very good receiver, but I've had to cover Mitch Herbert," said Cats senior cornerback Trace Timmer. "Mitch plays very, very similar to Cooper. It's not like we're facing anything completely new. He's still a great receiver, and we're not going to take that away from him. But we've faced just as good receivers."  

The Bobcats will finish a 16 day period without a game come Saturday. They've used the time to focus on the rivalry game.

"We've been able to work out some kinks and get the timing down this past two weeks. So this is like another opening game for us because it's been so long since our last game. I think we'll find out on Saturday where we're at, but I like where we're at right now."

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