FRISCO, Texas— The Montana State Bobcats are getting set to play in the FCS title game for the first time in 37 years. There’s no group more thrilled than the tight knit community of former Bobcat football players.
MTN Sports caught up with a number of MSU legends over the last few weeks to get their thoughts on the 2021 team.
Naturally, there was a lot of praise for All-American linebacker and Buck Buchanan Award finalist Troy Andersen. The Dillon native has put together a one of a kind career so far.
He’s lined up at quarterback, running back, defensive end and linebackers and has been among the Bobcats’ best players since he first stepped on the field. With his career coming to a close on Saturday, it’s a near lock that he will hear his name called at some point during the 2022 NFL draft.
Here’s what several Bobcat legends had to say about Andersen, his career and pro prospects.
Credentials: Played linebacker and defensive end at Montana State from 2006-2009. Earned 1st-Team All-Big Sky honors and was named Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2009. Was also a Buck Buchanan award finalist. The Bozeman native was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and played five seasons in the NFL between the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Played in Super Bowl XLVI with the Patriots. After leaving the league, Fletcher started a training gym in Bozeman called “The Pitt” where he has worked to train several current, former and future MSU players.
Dane Fletcher on Andersen: “I have scouts and agents hitting me up and there’s only one way to explain it, he’s the most athletic kid hands down that’s ever played at MSU. To be thrown into the situations he has, obviously he’s a 4.0 student, brilliant in the classroom which helped him get where he is, but then translates that on the football field, not a lot of people can do. Coming in as a running back, then quarterback, then defensive line then linebacker. It’s all the pieces that he can do. I have all the hope in the world for Troy and his future.”
Credentials: Played LB at MSU from 2011-2014. Played for the Calgary Stampeders from 2016-2019, named the CFL’s most outstanding defensive player in 2017. Signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019. Led the team with 120 tackles in 2020, and currently has 130 tackles in 2021.
Singleton on Andersen: “Obviously I love watching Troy, it’s pretty cool what he's able to do. It’s awesome. His four years, it's what everybody talks about what he's been able to do at so many different positions and it really is special. It's really cool. And just to see him get better every week and watch his game evolve. It's really exciting.”
Credentials: Played running back for Montana State from 1998-2002. Holds the career record for rushing yards at MSU with 3,646, and was on the 2002 team that snapped a 17-game losing streak to the University of Montana. His single season record of 1,537 rushing yards stood for 20 years until Isaiah Ifanse broke it during the 2021 season. Johnson was also named the 2001 Academic All-America Player of the Year in 2001.
Johnson on Andersen: “I’ve been following Troy Anderson since he got there. I mean moving around from running back to quarterback and when he was playing quarterback, I said, this guy's gonna break the record. With all the yards he was racking up so early in his career, I was like, he's keep playing quarterback he's gonna break it. And he would've, but moved him over to defense and then he broke a bunch of records over there and was even a better defensive player than an offensive player. I'm excited to see him play at the next level.”
Credentials: Played QB at MSU from 2002-2005. Re-wrote the record books with school records for career passing yards (10,746) and total offense in a career. He also led Montana State to three wins over Montana, including a 10-7 win in 2002 which snapped a 16 game losing streak to the Griz. Went on to play nine seasons for the BC Lions of the CFL, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player in 2011 and Grey Cup MVP that same season.
Lulay on Andersen: “Troy Andersen is maybe the best Bobcat of all time, what that guy's done in his career has been really, really fun to watch. And he's just such an athlete and you can tell he cares and he's a tough Montana kid, but he is also like freakishly big and strong and fast. Right. And so it's funny to think that this all American middle linebacker won a Cat-Griz game in Missoula as a quarterback a couple of years ago. And I think any Cat fan enjoys watching him play.”
Stay tuned throughout the week for more thoughts from MSU legends on the 2021 Bobcats ahead of the FCS National Title game against North Dakota State on Saturday, January 8th in Frisco, Texas.