BOZEMAN — While offense gets all the love, the Montana State defense has allowed 26 points in two games and only seven last night in their 45-7 home-opener win against Drake.
“We want to win," said senior defensive end Daniel Hardy who had five total tackles and one sack in the game. "We want to punch them in the mouth early and see if they can get into a fistfight. Our whole mentality is that our offense can go kick a field goal and we’ll win the game. That’s how we want to handle our business and that’s how we want to attack teams.”
The Bobcats held the Bulldogs to just 2.2 yards per carry on 36 rushing attempts. Drake had 228 total yards in the game. The key for the Cats defense: Discipline.
“They have a lot of what I call trickeration," said Hardy. "A lot of eye candy, motions, things like that so our biggest thing that we focused on this week was discipline and reading our keys and doing exactly -- if the guy in front of you tells you something, that’s what you got to do.”
For the defensive players, they loved playing in front of the fans. Especially for the Gold Rush game.
“I’m running through a brick wall," Hardy said about how the fans motivate him. "Love them. They do an amazing job feeding us with energy. Couldn’t ask for a better home crowd.”
“It fuels us for sure," said redshirt junior defensive back Ty Okada who led the team with eight tackles, one for a loss and a pass breakup. "As a defense, you hear the noise, you can see the offense panicking a little bit. Not being able to communicate as well. Just love it."
Head Coach Brent Vigen likes what he sees from the front four on his defensive line. They’re 10-11 players deep there and they’ll need all of them to have success.
“I think we got a chance to have a really good front and Daniel (Hardy) is certainly one of those guys," said Vigen. I think Amandre (Williams) flashed at times tonight. Chase (Benson), he’s a force to be reckoned with in there."
The defense’s success through the first two weeks is unsurprising -- at least to the players.
“The guys up front dominated," said Okada. "Our linebackers are fast as heck. Troy (Andersen) and (Callahan O'Reilly) running to the ball. At this point, it’s the expectation and we took care of business.”
It seems as if everyone is bought into new defensive coordinator Freddie Banks Style of defense: fun, fast and physical.
“I just love what we’re doing as doing as defense," Okada said. "Just running to the ball, playing fast, playing physical.”