Offense, defense shine in Cats scrum

BOZEMAN — Big plays on offense counter-balanced stout defensive play at the line of scrimmage in Montana State’s first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday in Bobcat Stadium.

“I thought we played very physical on both sides of the ball,” said MSU coach Rob Ash, who expressed pleasure with this team’s performance. “There was good hitting out there. I really liked the competitiveness.”

While the Bobcat offense gained 94 yards on 24 called running plays, 3.9 yards a play, MSU’s pass game showed explosiveness. Starting quarterback DeNarius McGhee tossed a 48-yard score to Cody Kirk, while Jake Bleskin threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Roderick against the second unit. In all, Bobcat quarterbacks finished the day 18-for-23 without an interception. Roderick threw one pick – by Steven Bethley – on a two-point conversion attempt.

“Tanner (Roderick) had a really great day today,” Ash said. “He really looked good out there. He attacked the ball and caught it well. The thing we have to do now is get him reps with the (no. one offense) against the (no. one) defense.”

The offense’s ability to hit on big plays impressed MSU’s seventh-year head coach. “I thought some guys really made big plays (for the offense),” he said. “I like the explosiveness of the offense.”

While the offense registered some big plays, Bobcat linebacker Alex Singleton, who starred on the defensive side of the ball, liked what he saw from his mates. “I thought on the whole defense, everybody fit (plays) well,” Singleton said. “I was very impressed with how the defense has been playing all fall. There’s been a lot of outside noise about all the guys we lost, but I thought we stepped up big (Saturday).”

Montana State takes Sunday off of practice before returning to the field twice on Monday. The morning contact session is slated for 9:15 am, while the afternoon session is slated for 4 p.m.

RUSHING: Cody Kirk 4-15-0, Shawn Johnson 6-13-0, Brandon Davis 3-15-0, Chad Newell 3-17-0, DeNarius McGhee*3-11-0, Dakota Prukop 2-8-0, Cody Vitt 2-9-0, Gunnar Brekke 1-6-0, Jayshawn Gates 1-7-0, Jake Bleskin 1-2-0, Cody Dopps 1- -5-0, Jon Ellis 1-4-0, Morris Gates-Mouton 2-7-0.
*-quarterback rush stats do not include sacks

PASSING: DeNarius McGhee 5-6-0, 84, 1 TD; Jake Bleskin 5-7-0, 131, 1; Dakota Prukop 7-8-0, 105, 0; Quinn McQueary 1-2-0, 13, 0.

RECEIVING: Tanner Roderick 4-122-1, Mitch Griebel 2-23-0, Tanner Bleskin 2-21-0, Lee Perkins 2-24-0, Gunnar Brekke 2-19-0, Austin Barth 2-22-0, Cody Kirk 1-48-1, Tiai Salanoa 1-15-0, Shadeed Crockett 1-11-0.

DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Sacks – Conner Thomas (2). Other Tackles-for-Loss – Alex Singleton (3).

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