Bobcats close spring drills

BOZEMAN — With big check marks beside “Good balance” and “No new injuries,” Rob Ash declared Montana State’s Sonny Holland Scrimmage Saturday in Bobcat Stadium a success.

“I thought today was pretty well-balanced between offense and defense,” MSU’s eighth-year head coach said after the spring’s final practice session. “The offense got off to a great start, but I thought the defense rallied and came back strong. They stopped the run real well after that, and stopped the offense in general the rest of the day.”

The strong offensive start was engineered by sophomore quarterback Dakota Prukop, who led the team on a 78-yard, 11-play drive that culminated in a 23-yard Nick LaSane run. The redshirt freshman’s touchdown was a spectacular showcase of strength and speed, as he broke several tackles at the line of scrimmage then out-ran the secondary to the end zone.

“That was a tremendous run,” Ash said. “I’ll have to look at film to see if it was just effort on his part or missed tackles or what, but Nick has had a very good spring. The first time he was healthy since he’s been on our campus was in January during winter workouts, and he had a great winter. He’s very strong, but he’s not slow. He has good speed, and he showed it (on the touchdown).”

The ground game dominated the scrimmage, by design according to Ash and also by production. Bobcat running backs – a position group described by Ash as “a monster, in a good way” – combined for 104 yards on 15 carries. LaSane racked up 50 yards on six carries, while Gunnar Brekke rambled for 46 on just three totes.

“We haven’t had the chance to tackle to the ground this spring and we needed to get an evaluation of the run game,” Ash said. “That is a position of strength for us, and I thought Nick and Gunnar performed well today. Plus we add Shawn Johnson (injured this spring) and (junior college transfer) Anthony Knight in the fall, and (incoming freshman) Tavon Dodd, too.”

On a day dominated by the run, Ash liked the efforts of his quarterbacks. Cody Cleveland’s interception of a Jake Bleskin pass was the day’s only turnover. Bleskin finished 3-for-6, Dakota Prukop was 5-for-9 for 32 yards in spite of being victimized by several drops, and Tanner Roderick was 2-for-3 for nine yards.

“I thought they all did a good job today,” Ash said. “It’s hard to evaluate quarterbacks in this offense when they’re all wearing red jerseys. You just don’t get a good read unless you’re tackling to the ground. But I thought they all did good things today, and they’ve all improved this spring.”

While it was equally hard to evaluate the defense on a day when tag-offs replaced tackling several times, Ash was pleased with that unit’s resolve. “I liked that the defense dug in after the offense had some success early. They kept playing, and I though played really well the rest of the way.”

Luke Daly performed well in the kicking contest with Trevor Bolton. He connected on five of six attempts, missing only on a 39-yarder that was blocked. Bolton connected on one-of-six, including a Deonte Flowers block.

RUSHING: Nick LaSane 6-50-1, Gunnar Brekke 3-46, Cody Vitt 4-1-0, Tanner Roderick 4-1-0, Dakota Prukop 3- -7-0, Chad Newell 2-7-0, Jake Bleskin 2-8-0, Jayshawn Gates 1- -3-0.
PASSING: Dakota Prukop 5-9-0, 32, 0 TD; Jake Bleskin 3-6-1, 21, 0; Tanner Roderick 2-3-0, 9, 0.
RECEIVING: Jayshawn Gates 2-6-0, Shadeed Crockett 1-15-0, Lee Perkins 1-11-0, Cody Vitt 1-10-0, Jacob Stanton 1-9-0, Will Krolick 1-8-0, Chad Newell 1-7-0, Gunnar Brekke 1- -2-0, Nick LaSane 1- -2-0.

— MSU Sports Information



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