BOZEMAN — What began as an experiment turned into a stopgap. What turned into a stopgap has helped Montana State navigate the first half of its season to enter the 2018 stretch run in position for a playoff push.
When news hit that quarterback Chris Murray would sit out the 2018 season to concentrate on his academics, Travis Jonsen was still in a walking boot, Tucker Rovig was searching for his confidence and Casey Bauman and Ruben Beltran had not arrived on campus yet.
In order to ensure player-run summer practices went smoothly, Montana State head coach Jeff Choate told do-everything sophomore Troy Andersen to dust off the rust of his quarterback skills and lead the troops in the months leading up to fall camp.
The 2017 Big Sky Freshman of the Year (playing running back and linebacker) improved enough to be a part of the quarterback competition with Jonsen, a former 4-star recruit who spent time at Oregon and Riverside Community College before landing at Montana State, along with Rovig, a 6-foot-5 former 3-star recruit from Boise in August. By the end of August, Andersen won the job for MSU’s opener against Western Illinois.
For two games, Rovig took the reigns with Andersen unable to play quarterback because of an injury to his non-throwing hand. But Andersen returned to rush for 211 yards in a win at Portland State to open up Big Sky Conference play.
Internally, sources say — Montana State’s practices have been closed since the first week of September — the MSU staff continued to push Rovig and see if there was a way the redshirt freshman could fit into the mix, giving Andersen the ability to return to tailback or play linebacker or both.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.