BOZEMAN – The No. 24 Incarnate Word Cardinals saw their record-breaking season come to an end with a 35-14 loss to No. 23 Montana State at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the FCS Playoffs.
Both teams went three-and-out on their respective opening drives but Lance McCutcheon returned a blocked UIW punt 11 yards for the score, putting Montana State up 7-0 early.
UIW answered back with a 71-yard drive as senior quarterback Sean Brophy led the Cardinals down the field to knot the score up 7-7, completing the drive with a five-yard pass to Kam Williams.
The Bobcats used their defense and took the lead for good in the second quarter. With UIW backed up to their own end zone, Brophy was called for intentional grounding and resulted in a safety. Montana State would take a 9-7 lead before adding a field goal and a touchdown to take the 18-7 lead into the locker room at the break.
UIW opened the second half with a seven play, 66-yard drive which was capped off with a Brophy touchdown pass to Phillip Baptiste for the 12-yard score to make it an 18-14 game. Mistakes would cost the Cardinals down the stretch as the Bobcats scored 17 straight points to earn the 35-14 win.
Brophy filled in for the injured freshman quarterback Jon Copeland on Saturday. He finished the game with 22 completions for two touchdowns and an interception on 321 yards passing.
The loss ends a record-breaking season for UIW, making it their best in the ten-year history of the program. The Cardinals finished the regular season 6-4 and 6-2 in conference play, earning them a share of the Southland Conference Championship.
Eric Morris was named Coach of the Year in his first season at UIW. The Cardinals went undefeated at Benson Stadium for the first time in program history and several players were honored with awards. Copeland broke several individual and program records as well.
While the loss may sting now, UIW has a promising future and this season was just the beginning in building a solid foundation for the program.