After the jaw-dropping appearance of senior quarterback, DeNarius McGhee, walking onto the field at the University of North Dakota (UND) last Saturday, McGhee wasted no time in showing why he is the best in the Big Sky. Throwing for 13 of 18 for 194 yards before halftime, McGhee was a surprise starter.
“We decided at eight Friday night to start [McGhee],” said Montana State coach Rob Ash. “[The doctors] never said it was an issue of how many days he’d be out. It was more a matter of how he felt.”
[pullquote align=”right”]The running game for MSU has struggled this season, but ignited against UND. “That’s something we needed to get going,” Kirk said. “That was a big motivation for us this week.”[/pullquote]
The game was over before halftime, but not before Cody Kirk had rushed for five touchdowns and 104 yards to bring the Cats up 42-7. Kirk’s continued domination on the ground has increased the school record for rushing touchdowns to 39. Many Bobcats had a notable game with wide receiver Tanner Bleskin, catching six passes for 147 yards. Bleskin’s 166 career catches is now tied for second in MSU records, just three shy of Joe Bignell’s 169.
Defensive end Brad Daly had a sack that put tied him for fourth in career sacks in school history and Kirk’s game put him 15 yards from becoming the second Bobcat in school history to cross the 3,000 yards rushing mark.
The running game for MSU has struggled this season, but ignited against UND. “That’s something we needed to get going,” Kirk said. “That was a big motivation for us this week.”
This upcoming weekend the Cats face a big game against Big Sky rival, Northern Arizona University (NAU). NAU is coming off of a monumental 36-16 win against the University of Montana (UM). It was the first time NAU had beaten the Grizzlies at home since 1997.
A huge statement will be made if the Bobcats can keep all aspects of their game strong against an equally talented 2013 Lumberjacks team, in the air and on the ground. Against UM, NAU ran for 149 yards on 38 attempts and passed for 267 yards. MSU locked down the field on defense against UND and if they can do it again, I see no reason why Montana State should not be 2-0 in conference play.
With quarterback Jake Bleskin continuing to accumulate more experience in the center, he should have no problem preparing for his first season as a full-time starter beginning next year. He has already proven he has the necessary skills to be a contender, putting up 309 yards in his debut game against Colorado Mesa on Sept. 14. However, Bleskin lacks the experience McGhee has from being MSU’s starting quarterback. With McGhee back, I believe the Bobcats will be looking to make a statement in the Big Sky. Beating NAU after their win over the Grizzlies will not only look good in the rankings, but also boost motivation within the team. I predict a score of 45-34 in favor of MSU.