Montana State shredded the nationally ranked Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona University (NAU) on Saturday at home. NAU came to Bobcat Stadium ranked No.15 in the country and fresh off a monumental win against the University of Montana Grizzlies. It took just over five minutes of play for the Bobcats to pounce first with a seven-yard touchdown run by Shawn Johnson.
MSU’s defense completely shut down NAU. The Lumberjacks were held to only 64 rushing yards — 26 of those were by NAU’s leading all-time rusher, Zach Bauman, who passed the 4,000 career yard mark two weeks ago against UC Davis.
Running backs Johnson and Cody Kirk were unstoppable, both running for a combined 276 yards. Quarterback DeNarius McGhee also ran for a few yards including a 9-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Kirk had 126 yards by himself and continued to stack up the numbers for the all-time leading rusher for scores.
“I tell [Johnson] before every game that I’m thunder and you’re lightning,” Kirk said after the game. “I’ll pound on them, you take it to the house and that’s just what we did today.”
MSU set a new attendance record of 21,027 people at the game, causing a magnitude of disruptions to NAU’s offense including four false start penalties. “It’s difficult with the crowd noise,” said Lumberjack’s Head Coach Jerome Souers. “MSU had a good plan and they were able to execute it very well. It’s difficult to maintain a rhythm and that makes it tough on the run game when you can’t hear the snap count.”
Wide receiver Tanner Bleskin caught four passes, breaking the school record for career receptions with 170 catches on his last reception of the game. The record breaking pass was thrown to him by none other than his little brother, sophomore quarterback Jake Bleskin.
It was a rough day for McGhee after his touchdown. Completing 9 of 21 passes for only 87 yards, MSU struggled to get the passing game set up. Midway through the fourth quarter McGhee was knocked down after a pass attempt and walked off holding his shoulder. Jake Bleskin came in and ended the game for the Bobcats. The Cats enter a bye-week holding a 4-2 (2-0) record and will be taking on Weber State in Utah on Oct. 19 and then the UC Davis Aggies at home on Oct. 27.