BOZEMAN It's been 37 years since the MSU Bobcats hosted a semi-final game and in those 37 years a lot has changed for Montana State University, and Bozeman as well.
With an 11-2 overall record, the Bobcats will host South Dakota State University for a semi-final game at bobcat stadium—the biggest game in Bozeman since the national championship run in 1984. Former outside linebacker John Kinna was on that history-making team and for him seeing the 2021 Bobcats brings a flood of memories and pride.
“They are representing their university and the state of Montana super well and we are super proud of them- we want the spotlight to be on them,” says Kinna.
Since 1984 a lot has changed for Montana State, student enrollment was 11,035 in 1984. In 2021 MSU broke a record with 16,841 students enrolled in the fall. Bozeman, where MSU calls home, has also seen its share of growth, in the 1980s around 21,000 people called Bozeman home. In 2021 Bozeman's population is around 53,000.
“You feel pride in having graduated from Montana State and especially getting to play football and to see where they are today. It's a great feeling,” says Kinna.
For Kinna being a part of the program himself, he hopes that current players get to take it all in.
“Enjoy the moment, the stadium is going to be packed, it'll be electric, the atmosphere it'll just be so awesome,” says Kinna.
Those from the 1984 team tell MTN News they wish the players the best, staying away from the camera in order to not jinx this crucial playoff game.
“We are going to have a little mini-reunion and cheer on this team and we know they are going to go out there and get after it,” says Kinna.
Now as a fan who watches from the stands.
“It's fun to come back now and watch this team do their thing and make their memories,” says Kinna.
The MSU Bobcats will take on the Jackrabbits to a sold-out crowd on Dec. 18th at 12 pm.