BOZEMAN — Call it a good starting point.
Montana State scrimmaged for more than an hour Saturday, its first such session of the spring, and the team flashed signs of effectiveness on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dakota Prukop completed 15 of his 17 pass attempts for 155 yards and a touchdown, and on a day that head coach Rob Ash said would focus on depth in the running game by “trying to evaluate Nick (LaSane) and Tavon (Dodd),” the young backs “both responded well.” LaSane carried eight times for 40 yards, while Dodd toted it seven times for 68 yards. They combined for four touchdowns.
“I really liked the way Dakota threw the ball (Saturday),” MSU offensive coordinar Tim Cramsey said. “Tavon and Nick showed improvement, too. They still need a lot of reps, but I like how they’re running the ball. We know what Anthony (Kinght) and Chad (Newell) can do, so it was good to see those young guys.”
While praising his quarterback, Cramsey also credited success in the pass game to Montana State’s pass-catchers. “I really like the receiving corps,” he said. “Justin Paige has looked good this spring, and the addition of Beau Sandland is really a difference-maker.”
Ash liked his offense’s ability to tear off big chunks of yards. “The offense was explosive,” he said. “Paige and Sandland had huge receptions. Dakota threw the ball well and ran the offense superbly.”
MSU’s ninth-year head coach liked his defense’s response to an offensive emphasis on the ground game. “The defense was tough against the run,” he said. “Mac Bignell made some really good plays, and the line played hard and well.”
Depth in the back end of the defense, a theme throughout the spring, emerged again Saturday. Safeties Bryson McCabe and Demonte King each missed the scrimmage with injuries. “We had to put red jerseys on the safeties because of depth, so we didn’t get a realistic look there.”
While the number of players unavailable may have been a limiting factor, co-defensive coordinator Kane Ioane said the effort and energy levels were good. “The guys battled and were very resilient considering some depth issues due to injuries,” he said, “especially in the back end.”
Ioane said scheme additions and tweaks didn’t hinder his unit. “We were able to play multiple fronts and mix up our coverages without major mistakes or mental errors,” he said. “We played physical in the front versus the run, which is the main objective for us, and created some big plays by being aggressive and attacking the football. I love the energy and I love seeing 11 guys running to the football.”
The Bobcats return to practice Thursday at 3:45 pm.
Rushing: Nick LaSane 8-40-3, Tavon Dodd 7-68-1, Noah James 3-16.
Passing: Dakota Prukop 15-17-0, 155, 1 TD; Jake Bleskin 11-18-1, 133. Total 26-35-1, 288, 1 TD.
Receiving: Beau Sandland 3-44-1, Johnny D’Agostino 3-38-0, Justin Paige 2-73, Curtis Amos 2-23, Nick LaSane 2-32, Will Krolick 2-37, Chad Newell 1-10, Mitch Greibel 1-9, Anthony Knight 1-7, Connor Sullivan 1-6, Tafon Dodd 1-4, Gunnar Brekke 1-5.
LaSane 4 yard rush
Dodd 42 yard rush
Sandland 22 yard pass from Prukop
LaSane 12 yard rush
Daly 26 yard FG
LaSane 11 yard rush
Daly 41 yard FG.
Turnovers: Jaylen Price interception of Bleskin; Zach Wright fumble recovery.
— MSU Sports Information