Elevated Expectations

ELEVATED EXPECTATIONS: McKay key for ‘Cats to return to elite QB ranks

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Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in Skyline Sports’ ELEVATED EXPECTATIONS series profiling Bobcat football players and position groups likely to see elevated roles this season for Montana State.

BOZEMAN, Montana – Matt McKay had never been on a flight by himself until he boarded plane to a foreign part of the country to explore an opportunity presented to him by one of the greatest Bobcats of them all.

McKay hasn’t played in an actually Division I game since October of 2019. He’s spent more than 20 months in Bozeman, Montana nearly 2,200 miles from his home in North Carolina. Yet he is expected to be the man who helps Montana State return to the ranks of the Big Sky’s elite at the quarterback position.

Flash back to August 31 of 2019. On that final day of this month two years ago, McKay made his first collegiate start – leading North Caroline State to a 34-6 win over East Carolina. McKay threw for 308 yards, making him the third quarterback in NC State history to throw for more than 300 yards in his debut. He also ran for two touchdowns that day.

The 6-foot-4, 208-pounder from Raleigh threw for 200 yards and the Wolfpack beat West Carolina 41-0 the following week. McKay completed 40 of his next 78 passes (51 percent) for 382 yards, one touchdown and one pick while struggling to compete balls down the field or find space to run in the open field the following two games.

Still, NC State lost to West Virginia 44-27 and beat Ball State 34-23 as McKay, a former Scout Team Player of the Year, started 3-1 as the Wolfpack starter during his third year in the program.

The entire team struggled in a 31-13 loss to Florida State in which Bailey Hockman earned more of the quarterback snaps. The following week, Hockman led NC State to a 16-10 win over Syracuse.

The quarterback carousel continued. But it did not include McKay Devin Leary started the following week, a 45-24 loss to Boston College. That defeat sparked an six-game losing streak to finish the season that included just 100 total points scored. McKay saw no action following the Syracuse game.

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in Skyline Sports’ ELEVATED EXPECTATIONS series profiling Bobcat football players and position groups likely to see elevated roles this season for Montana State.

BOZEMAN, Montana – Matt McKay had never been on a flight by himself until he boarded plane to a foreign part of the country to explore an opportunity presented to him by one of the greatest Bobcats of them all.

McKay hasn't played in an actually Division I game since October of 2019. He's spent more than 20 months in Bozeman, Montana nearly 2,200 miles from his home in North Carolina. Yet he is expected to be the man who helps Montana State return to the ranks of the Big Sky's elite at the quarterback position.

Flash back to August 31 of 2019. On that final day of this month two years ago, McKay made his first collegiate start – leading North Caroline State to a 34-6 win over East Carolina. McKay threw for 308 yards, making him the third quarterback in NC State history to throw for more than 300 yards in his debut. He also ran for two touchdowns that day.

The 6-foot-4, 208-pounder from Raleigh threw for 200 yards and the Wolfpack beat West Carolina 41-0 the following week. McKay completed 40 of his next 78 passes (51 percent) for 382 yards, one touchdown and one pick while struggling to compete balls down the field or find space to run in the open field the following two games.

Still, NC State lost to West Virginia 44-27 and beat Ball State 34-23 as McKay, a former Scout Team Player of the Year, started 3-1 as the Wolfpack starter during his third year in the program.

The entire team struggled in a 31-13 loss to Florida State in which Bailey Hockman earned more of the quarterback snaps. The following week, Hockman led NC State to a 16-10 win over Syracuse.

The quarterback carousel continued. But it did not include McKay Devin Leary started the following week, a 45-24 loss to Boston College. That defeat sparked an six-game losing streak to finish the season that included just 100 total points scored. McKay saw no action following the Syracuse game.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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