The Montana State football team (2-1) rallied Saturday, putting on an impressive display of power as they beat Colorado Mesa University (CMU) 26-0. The Bobcats held the Mavericks to just nine first downs as opposed to MSU’s 20. Cody Kirk led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 55 yards.
In his opening debut as a starting quarterback, Jake Bleskin opened many fans’ eyes with an impressive performance. Throwing for 305 yards with no interceptions, Bleskin came a mere 53 yards from tying the record for the most passing yards for a first time starting quarterback. Joe Volek holds the current record of 358 passing yards in his first game as a starter for the Bobcats in 1990.
“It was important for me to know these guys trusted me,” Bleskin said of his teammates. “I had ten studs with me out there and four or five of them are wide receivers. I do feel (like we left points on the field.) I don’t know how many times we were in the red zone knocking on the door. A point of emphasis in our offense is to score touchdowns.”
The Bobcats dominated CMU in everything but rushing yards. The Cat defense denied the Mavericks a single red zone appearance the entire game. Montana State reached the Mesa red zone on the first three possessions, but only managed to score three offensive points. It was a vast difference than the season-opener when the Bobcats scored 22 points in only 12 plays.
MSU’s stout defense prevailed again, holding CMU to only 5 of 20 completed passes for 41 total yards and seven sacks. Junior linebacker Alex Singleton again had a bright game, intercepting a pass and cruising 23 yards untouched for a returned touchdown. Though the Bobcats only threw for two touchdowns, a win is a win.
“I told the team after the game — and this is the honest truth of what I said — you’ll never hear me complain after a win,” remarked Head Coach Rob Ash after the game. The win marks the 52nd victory as MSU’s winningest coach and the 227th in his 35 years as a head coach.
“You think about it, all the years I’ve coached, maybe I’ve learned this as a head coach in my later years — you just can’t complain about a win,” said Ash. “We came out here to win and won the game, we won it decisively. It wasn’t close in the sense of the only team that had a chance to win it when you look at the game was us. That’s what we came here to do.”
Bleskin will continue to gain experience when they travel to Nacogdoches, Tex. to take on the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 21.