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Montana State looks to bounce back at Eastern Washington, opens Big Sky play

Brent Vigen
Posted at 9:25 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 10:19:43-04

BOZEMAN — Own it.

That’s been the message this week inside the locker room for No. 4 Montana State as they work through Week 3’s blowout against Oregon State while also turning the page to conference play.

Head Coach Brent Vigen says the attitude has been positive as the team heads back to the drawing boards – a refocused energy the Cats need for No. 15 Eastern Washington.

“If you don’t get out of the feeling sorry for yourself mode or don't figure out a way to get prepared, that’s when you don’t go into that next game ready," Vigen reiterated. "I think the fact that it’s another road challenge — the Big Sky opener against a really tough opponent — we have to turn the page."

While the Bobcats look to bounce back in Week 4, having to play on Eastern Washington’s infamous red field won’t be the only challenge.

The Eagles have a new field general this fall in Gunner Talkington, replacing who many have considered a generational talent Eric Barriere.

“Neither is tall in stature," Vigen compared. "They’re both athletic, but the difference is the wealth of experience that Barriere had at the end of it. The wealth of experience coupled with a multitude of confidence that he played with, and then the confidence that they had in him.”

Even though he’s a fresh face to opposing teams in the Big Sky, Talkington is actually one of the most tenured veterans on the Eagles roster.

The redshirt senior has served as a backup since walking on in 2017 waiting patiently for his opportunity, and in this year’s season opener had quite the impressive debut as QB1.

“I think in the Tennessee State game he showed that he’s allusive, he can extend plays, he can make plays with his feet," Vigen rattled off. "He had over 400 yards of total offense in that game, but he’s still relatively inexperienced. We have to put pressure on him to make those plays.”

With zero rushing touchdowns this fall, the Eagles continue to dominate through the air under their new offensive coordinator Jim Chapin – a style of offense Vigen said can’t be met with a passive defense.

“I think we’re far from seeing what this team is capable of, and we have to expect them to be very prepared with the extra week and expect obviously their best shot," he concluded.

Montana State (2-1) at Eastern Washington (1-1) kicks off in Cheney this Saturday at 2 p.m. MT, which will be broadcasted on the Montana Television Network.