Following are Sunday’s Montana State football notes as provided by the MSU Sports Information Department …
Montana State’s stirring home win against nationally-ranked Stephen F. Austin Saturday gave Bobcat coach Rob Ash a couple of milestones. MSU’s sixth-year head coach…
* Moved into second place on MSU’s career victories list with 42, and is now five wins behind Sonny Holland’s school record of 47
* Registered his 218th career win as a college head coach, tied for 46th in college football history
* Raised MSU’s record to 3-0 for the first time since 1999
OUT – SEASON: DE Odin Coe. OUT – INDEFINITELY: OL Charles Lee, OL Christian Williams. DOUBTFUL: LB Alex Singleton, DT Zach Minter, DE Brad Daly. QUESTIONABLE: WR Kruiz Siewing, RB Orenzo Davis, TE Lee Perkins. Defensive linemen Brian Bignell and Heath Hunter have been cleared to practice.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEES
Offense – WR Tanner Bleskin (6-3, 219, Jr, Great Falls, MT)
Tanner Bleskin recorded career highs with 10 catches and 180 yards Saturday, leading Montana State to 43-35 win over #23 Stephen F. Austin. The junior from Great Falls, Mont., caught four passes for 48 yards in the third pass, but made a huge impact on the game after the intermission. With the Bobcats leading 21-20, Bleskin caught a 21-yard pass from DeNarius McGhee, the first MSU completion of the second half on the team’s second drive, and two plays later caught a 35-yard touchdown pass. On MSU’s first possession after falling behind 29-28 early in the fourth quarter, McGhee found Bleskin for an eight-yard gain on first down, and two plays later the two connected on a 57-yard pass that set MSU up for a go-ahead touchdown.
Bleskin was also credited by MSU coaches for his blocking in a ground game that accounted for 154 yards.
Defense – S Stephen Bethley (5-11, 217, Jr, Chino, CA)
Steven Bethley recorded two tackles in Saturday’s 43-35 win over Stephen F. Austin, but he made perhaps the most important play of the game. With Montana State leading 40-35and 2:26 remaining, Bethley intercepted a Brady Attaway pass to set up Rory Perez’s 45-yard field goal that gave MSU an eight-point lead. Bethley also recorded two tackles, one for a loss, and broke up a Lumberjack pass.
Special Teams – P/K Rory Perez (6-3, 185, Jr, Moreno Valley, CA)
Rory Perez will long be remembered for impacting Montana State’s 43-35 win over #23 Stephen F. Austin in two little-used facets of his arsenal. In his first-ever field goal attempt as a Bobcat, Rory Perez nailed a 45-yarder to give Montana State an eight-point lead late in the fourth quarter, essentially sealing the win. Much earlier, Perez threw only the second pass of his career (he is now 2-for-2), converting a fourth-and-eight attempt for 29 yards to Jake Olson (his first career catch). The play set up a touchdown that gave MSU a 21-13 lead right before halftime. Perez’s major contribution came as MSU’s punter, averaging 35.0 yards total – but 34.2 net – on six kicks. He boomed one 53-yarder, and pinned SFA inside its own 20 to start three drives and inside the 10 twice.
• Montana State has scored at least 30 points in its first three games of 2012, and stands second in the league in scoring offense (36.7 points per game)
• Jake Olson caught the first pass of his Bobcat career and Rory Perez hit his first field goal as a Bobcat Saturday
• The Bobcats stand seventh in the FCS in rushing defense (71.3), leading the Big Sky in that category
• Tanner Bleskin’s 180 receiving yards and 10 catches Saturday were career highs
• DeNarius McGhee has struck for at least one touchdown pass in each of his 28 games at Montana State
• Cody Kirk’s 100-yard rushing game Saturday was the seventh in his Bobcat career
• The three turnovers forced by MSU’s defense (two in the game’s final three minutes) were its first takeaways of the season
• Montana State leads the Big Sky in third down conversions (56.6%) and opponent third down conversions (23.3%).
• The Bobcats lead the Big Sky in first downs (24.3 per game)