Sunday Bobcat football notes

Following are Sunday’s Montana State football notes as provided by the MSU Sports Information Department …

Montana State’s win Saturday was the 44th of Rob Ash’s Bobcat career, moving him a win closer to some major milestones. MSU’s sixth-year head coach…

* Moved to within three wins of Sonny Holland’s school-record 47 victories with MSU’s triumph over Northern Colorado

* Registered his 220th career win as a college head coach, tied for 46th in college football history


OUT – SEASON: DE Odin Coe, OL Christian Williams. OUT – INDEFINITELY: OL Charles Lee. QUESTIONABLE: OG Matt Devereux, RB Cody Kirk. PROBABLE: WR Tanner Bleskin.


Offense – C Shaun Sampson (6-0, 268, Sr, Helena)

Montana State’s third-year starting center and team captain anchored an offensive line in turmoil Saturday, helping lead Montana State to a 24-17 road win over Southern Utah. The only returning starter on the offensive line at the season’s outset, Sampson anchored a Bobcat unit Saturday that featured four linemates who had made a combined 12 career starts at their position entering the game. That line included Kyle Godecke, making his first career start for injured Matthew Devereux. Early in the second half, starting tackle John Weidenaar was ejected and redshirt freshman Alex Eekhoff entered for his first extensive varsity action. Still, the Bobcats rushed for 194 net rushing yards and 211 passing yards, and surrendered just four sacks.

Defense – LB Jody Owens (6-1, 222, So, Mesquite, TX)

Senior linebacker Jody Owens led a Bobcat defensive effort that held Southern Utah 15 points below its season scoring average. Owens registered a team-high 12 tackles, one for a loss, and forced a Southern Utah fumble. Saturday’s game was Owens’ second in double-digit tackles in 2012. The fumble he forced came on a third down Brad Sorensen scramble in the first quarter that came near the line-to-gain, and although SUU recovered the play resulted in a stop for the Bobcats.

Special Teams – none


• Montana State’s string of consecutive games scoring at least 30 points ended Saturday at four

• Only once previously has Montana State scored at least 30 points in its first four games of a season – 1956, when the Cats finished 9-0-1 and as NAIA National Champions

• Jon Ellis’ seven catches at Southern Utah marked a career high

• DeNarius McGhee is 14th in the FCS in total offense (279.2)

• The Bobcats stand fourth in the FCS in rushing defense (63.4), leading the Big Sky in that category

• Tanner Bleskin caught 10 passes each in the two games before missing the Southern Utah contest with an injury

• Montana State played most of the second half Saturday without its leading receiver (Bleskin), leading rusher (Cody Kirk, injured during the game), and starting left guard (Matthew Devereux, injured) and John Weidenaar (ejected during the game)

• DeNarius McGhee has struck for at least one touchdown pass in each of his 30 games at Montana State

• After failing to force a turnover in its first two games, the Bobcats have six in the last three

• Linebacker Cole Moore snagged his first career interception Saturday

• Montana State leads the Big Sky in third down conversions (56.8%) and opponent third down conversions (26.7%)

• The Bobcats have six scoring drives of 84 yards or more this season

• MSU’s 18 first downs Saturday was its fewest of the season, and the 18 first downs it allowed Southern Utah marked the second straight game and third game out of five the Bobcats have held the opponent to fewer than 20


OFFENSIVE MVP: C Shaun Sampson (Helena)

DEFENSIVE MVP: LB Jody Owens (Mesquite, TX), DE Caleb Schreibeis (Billings), LB Na’a Moeakiola (Euless, TX)

KICK TEAMS MVP: Kickoff coverage unit

OFFENSIVE SCOUT: Dakota Prukop (Austin, TX)

DEFENSIVE SCOUT: Luke Halliburton (Kalispell)

SPECIAL TEAMS SCOUT: Cody Dopps (Bigfork)