BOZEMAN – The Montana State Bobcats host their Homecoming on Saturday against Idaho, but it’s also a homecoming of sorts for members of the Vandals coaching staff.
Head coach Paul Petrino was born in Butte and raised in Helena, and he brought along with him a handful of Montanans. Jeff Choate is familiar with these Treasure State ties, and it makes this game a bit more personal.
“This game is an important game to the University of Idaho and, in particular, Paul Petrino, who is a Helena, Montana native and Carroll College grad,” said Choate. “Kris Cinkovich, Carroll College grad. Troy Purcell, Carroll College grad, Helena native, also a former Bozeman High coach who has guys on this team that he coached and won a couple state championships with.”
The list doesn’t stop there. Bobby Daly, a former all-American player for the Bobcats, is also on the Vandals coaching staff as a linebackers coach. It gets fueled even further, especially on the Montana State side as defensive line coach Byron Hout, a former Boise State player, has had his fair share of games against Idaho.
The last time these two teams met was in 2016 in Moscow, Idaho. The Vandals defeated MSU 20-17 in Choate’s first game leading the Bobcats. Now the Vandals are back in the Big Sky Conference and, even though the Bobcats already have a big rival in the conference, they know this matchup can only gain steam.
“Even though there isn’t a lot of recent history with this rivalry, there is a rivalry there, and this is a big game for them from the standpoint that this is a little bit of a homecoming deal,” said Choate.
The Bobcats kick off their Homecoming game against Idaho Saturday at 2 p.m.