Prukop takes home Big Sky weekly honor

BOZEMAN — Dakota Prukop knew early in Saturday’s 45-28 win over 20th-ranked Cal Poly that his role in Montana State’s offensive success would hinge more on his teammates and his right arm than on his legs.

“Cal Poly came in with the game plan to take away the quarterback run,” Prukop said Monday after his 399-yard passing performance helped seal his first ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week award of 2015. “You could really tell that early by how they played that.”

Prukop benefitted from near-spotless play across the offense. Chad Newell rushed for over 100 yards, tight end Beau Sandland’s 156 receiving yards amount to a coming-out party for the senior transfer, and the Bobcat offensive line not only opened gaping holes for running backs but kept Prukop upright all afternoon. “The offense executed what we needed to execute,” he said.

The Bobcats began their near-perfect execution early. After marching 65 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, MSU marched 75 yards on six plays on its next possession. Chad Newell scored both touchdowns, and Prukop was 4-for-5 passing on those drives. Leading 14-0, Prukop hit a dagger shot on the only play of Montana State’s third drive of the day. He found Jayshawn Gates racing down the middle of the field alone and hit him in stride for an 88-yard touchdown, the third-longest pass play in MSU and Bobcat Stadium history.

Prukop said Cal Poly’s dedication to slowing the Bobcat ground game opened up the aerial attack. “Our running backs have a rule, that they have to make one guy miss,” Prukop said. “(Newell) did what he needed to do, and they had the safeties firing down into the box like linebackers so that opened things up in the pass game.”

After rushing for 196 yards the week before against Eastern Washington, Prukop’s 399 passing yards vs. Cal Poly stands tied for 9th in school history. He has thrown for at least 300 yards in the last two contests, joining Kelly Bradley as the only Bobcats to do that twice in their careers.

The Bobcats travel to Northern Arizona Saturday for a 5 pm MDT/4 pm MST contest against the Lumberjacks.

— MSU Sports Information

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