Montana State rolled past the Aggies of UC Davis (UCD) on Saturday with a score of 34-17. The Bobcats are well on their way to a fourth consecutive Big Sky Conference Championship title.
Senior quarterback DeNarius McGhee completed 15 of 20 passes for 230 yards and rushed for 51 yards McGhee was playing at 100 percent after the separated shoulder injury he returned from earlier this month.
In the last three years the Bobcats have faced UCD, they have battled against a ready Aggie offense only to break through at the end of the game with a win. This weekend McGhee faced Davis and did not need to deliver a nail-biting last quarter comeback.
The Bobcats struck first in the matchup when McGhee threw a bomb to running back Shawn Johnson for a 47-yard touchdown. This was followed by another Bobcat touchdown on a 1-yard pass to running back Chad Newell, before UC Davis answered with 10 straight points.
“As you watched this game play out, I thought to myself several times this would be a very, very tough team to play if they were ahead,” said MSU Head Coach Rob Ash. “UC Davis does a really good job of milking the clock, ball control, keeping the ball away from you down in the possessions.”
“I thought the first touchdown was absolutely vital, and the one right before halftime gave us a margin where they still had to feel like they had to play catch-up against us,” Ash said, “That probably made them open up their offense a little more than they really wanted to and I think that was a key part of the game.”
McGhee and running backs Johnson and Cody Kirk continue to be one of the most feared trios in the FCS. Kirk now has 14 touchdowns this season, putting him in a second-place tie for most touchdowns in a season in MSU history. He has 43 total in his career, which is a first in school history. Kirk currently stands at 3,048 rushing yards — only the second Bobcat in school history to rush for over 3,000 yards. He is steadily chasing current MSU professor and local physical therapist Ryan Johnson’s 3,646 career yards.
[pullquote align=”right”]The Bobcats are well on their way to a fourth consecutive Big Sky title[/pullquote]
McGhee’s outstanding talent on the field not only leaves Bobcats fans, players and coaches in awe, but also opposing players. UC Davis defensive end, Nick King commented, “There was one play where his back was turned to me — he wasn’t even looking — and I was running full speed and somehow he just spun out of it. It shocks me.”
Montana State’s defense has been stout, causing many disruptions and making huge plays to lead the Cats to the 4-0 Big Sky Conference record they currently hold.
They will travel to Greeley, Colo. to take on Bears of Northern Colorado on Nov. 2. The Bears have yet to find their rhythm this season, falling to 1-7 (0-4 in the Big Sky Conference) after their loss at home against UC Davis. The lack of a presence with UNC’s offense and defense has dashed any hope of achieving .500 on the season. I think MSU will have no problem rolling Northern Colorado on the road and hopefully will come out on top with a predicted score of 38-17.