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December 6, 2012

BEARKAT FOOTBALL — Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Wintry weather no big deal to Bearkats

BOZEMAN, Mont. — All week long, the Bearkats have heard over and over again about how cold it was going to be in Montana with forecasted temperatures in the 20s and a serious possibility of snow.

The Kats did not have to wait long to get some experience with the cold stuff firsthand.

As soon as Sam Houston’s blue, orange and white-clad chartered plane touched down at Gallatin Field at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, the Bearkats were treated to snowflakes falling from the sky in a frigid 32 degrees.

Thrust into an unfamiliar environment, the Sam Houston players were feeling pretty good, considering they thought it was going to be much worse.

“Coming into this week, we knew it was going to be in Montana, obviously, and it was going to be cold. When we got off the plane, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” Bearkats quarterback Brian Bell said. “I think the weather’s probably going to get a little worse or cold, I guess you’d say. Right now, it’s really not that bad.

“Of course it’s going to be cold, but it’s not going to be deathly cold. It’s not going to kill us,” added Bell. “We’re just excited to be out there for a football game. We’re not really worried about the weather.”

As soon as the team buses arrived at the Holiday Inn hotel approximately 10 minutes later, the Bearkats quickly put their things in their rooms and began to have a little fun in the snow, making snowmen and having a playful impromptu snowball fight in the courtyard.

Looking ahead to today’s FCS quarterfinal playoff game against Montana State, the Bearkats quickly recalled last season’s semifinal contest against Montana (a 31-28 victory at Bowers Stadium) in which the temperatures were in the 40s with wind gusts ranging between 10 to 25 mph.

“The Montana game was similar to this kind of weather. That was probably colder,” Kats defensive end Andrew Weaver said. “The weather shouldn’t be a factor.”

With how Sam Houston operates its offense with some triple option, a healthy dose of handoffs to running back Timothy Flanders, as well as screen passes to receivers near the sideline, Bell is confident that the conditions, in which the temperature will be about 32 degrees with a wind chill of 21 degrees and winds that are expected to reach 17 mph with a 40 percent chance of snow, won’t be a detriment to the Kats’ effectiveness.

“Our strength is running the ball and throw it every now and then,” Bell said. “Hopefully, the weather permits us to go out and play our game.”

Defensively, the Bearkats have a tough assignment in trying to contain Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee and the Bobcats running backs on a surface that will be slick because of the snow.

Like the offense, the Kats on the defensive side of the ball like their chances even in the adverse conditions.

“We just have to have that razor-sharp focus when we go out there and play. We have to be razor sharp. Everything has to be on point,” Weaver said. “(The coaches) gave us some sweats, so we’re going to be warm but still be effective.

“I’m looking forward to playing in the snow. Along with my teammates, we’re going to go out and have fun.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CST and the game will be televised live on ESPN2.

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