Montana State

Jones embracing unlikely fifth season with Bobcats


BOZEMAN, Montana — Logan Jones won a state championship on one of the most dominant teams in Montana history during his senior year at Glacier High School.

The explosive slasher earned All-Big Sky Conference honors as a true freshman as a kick returner in 2015. The former walk-on scored touchdowns in each his sophomore and junior seasons.

In 2018, the tailback suffered a torn abductor muscle in his abdomen, causing him to miss the first eight games of the season. Yet he still calls his pseudo senior season his best.

He also calls last season his worst. It’s the conundrum of Jones’ career so far. Yet he is in the midst of his fifth and final season, the rare final campaign that comes on the back end of a career instead of the front.

“Last year was brutal and so cool all at once,” Jones said on Montana State’s media day on August 22. ““The challenges were not being on the field, not being out there with my teammates. That was really hard for me. It was one of my most memorable years. It was one of my most hated years and one of my most favorite years.

“Last year as a roller coaster of emotions, man. The highest highs and the lowest lows.”

Montana State Logan Jones (28) in the open field vs Northern Colorado/by Brooks Nuanez

Jones suffered the injury late last summer, causing him to be a late scratch for fall camp. The tear took months to heal. The MSU coaching staff and Jones himself decided for him to not return until Montana State’s contest at Idaho State the last weekend of October. Jones ended up scoring three touchdowns in four weeks, including a 13-yard touchdown in MSU’s 29-25 win over Montana in Missoula.

“Logan has been super productive for us,” Choate said. “I mean, he only played in four games last year and he scored a touchdown in almost every one of those games and had impactful moments.”

When MSU qualified for the FCS playoffs thanks to three straight wins in November, Jones hit his fourth game of participation. Because of the new NCAA rule that allows players (mostly freshmen) to play in four or less games and maintain their redshirts along with the fact that Jones played right away in 2015, he was able to maintain a fifth and final year of eligibility.

But it wasn’t easy.

“I had to watch the playoffs here (against Incarnate Word at Bobcat Stadim) from the stands and had to watch the North Dakota State game (a 52-10 MSU loss) on TV,” Jones said. “That sucked. But at the same time, I could watch my brothers competing and win in our home. That was cool to see for them. But I wish I could’ve been out there.”

The 5-foot-7, 186-pound ball of explosiveness is back out on the field now. In Montana State’s home opener, Jones showed his big-play potential in MSU’s 38-17 win over No. 12 Southeast Missouri State. With starting running back Isaiah Ifanse on the sideline in street clothes, Jones and his fellow running backs picked up the slack.

Montana State fifth-year senior running back Logan Jones, pictured here in 2018/ by Brooks Nuanez

Jones carried the ball eight times for 27 yards. And during MSU’s explosive 28-point third quarter, Jones fielded a fly sweep pitch from Travis Jonsen and turned on the jets, sprinting to a 55-yard touchdown to give MSU a 31-10 lead.

“He’s a weapon,” Choate said. “He’s a big kickoff return guy. He’s shown his speed, which is something maybe not everyone is familiar with. He is one of our fastest players.

“He’s a featured guy, a playmaker that needs touches in our offense.”

The startlingly quick Jones has been a playmaker worth of touches since he first stepped foot on Montana State’s campus. He earned Montana Super State honors from the Great Falls Tribune in 2013 and 2014. During Glacier’s run to their first state title, the Wolfpack outscored their opponents 654-164, including a 56-19 victory in the Class AA state title game.

“He’s like a Danny Woodhead, super fast and can make plays,” MSU senior captain Kevin  Kassis said, referring to the former Chadron State great who, ironically, shredded Montana State in 2006 before embarking on a 10-year NFL career. “He has such good speed and balance and vision. He makes it look effortless.”

Over the last four years, Jones has earned himself 57 carries. He has gained 282 yards on the ground. He has also caught 13 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns, although 65 of those yards came on a non-touchdown against Sac State in 2016.

“I think he can do it all,” MSU redshirt freshman quarterback Casey Bauman said. “If you need him to run inside zone, he can run inside zone. He’s a burner so he can run outside. He’s just a utility player for us and that’s awesome.”

Montana State senior Logan Jones scores a 55-yard touchdown against SEMO/ by Jason Bacaj

Ifanse’s status remains unknown for Montana State’s match up at Western Illinois on Saturday. He did not record a carry in the second half of the SEMO win. In Ifanse’se absence, true freshman DeMareus Hosey scored his first career touchdown. Senior Karl Tucker II also scored his first career touchdown.

In between, Jones showed his unbelievable acceleration on his first touchdown of his final season. The Bobcats are glad to have Jones back for one more season as a weapon.

“He’s the leader in our running back room,” Choate said. He’s a great special teams player, a great team guy. Whatever we ask him to do he’s done. I’m excited to see him get a degree from Montana State and see what he can accomplish in his life.”

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.