Big Sky Conference

Murray saves best performance for last in first season

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Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a five-part series recapping Montana State’s 2016 season and previewing MSU off-season as Jeff Choate and his staff prepare for their second season together.

MISSOULA — With the clocking winding down and an upset to remember drawing near, Montana State first-year head coach Jeff Choate took a moment to think things over.

With his Bobcats facing a fourth down and one yard to go, Choate did not hesitate after pondering during a 30-second timeout. MSU offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham had a short-yardage play filled with deception up his sleeve, a play the Bobcats had saved since fall camp. The play: show a handoff to senior running back Chad Newell, fake a fumble by the quarterback, assume possession and throw over the top to the secondary tight end.

With MSU clinging to a 24-17 lead here against fierce rival Montana and in the midst of a drive that would end up lasting the entire final six minutes and 20 seconds of the game, Choate and Messingham concurred that the time for the play was upon them. The team hadn’t run it earlier in the year against Idaho and the Bobcats missed that upset bid, losing by three points in Moscow to open the Choate era.

But when Choate and Messingham relayed the gambling decision to MSU true freshman quarterback Chris Murray, the Bobcat signal caller hesitated.

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a five-part series recapping Montana State’s 2016 season and previewing MSU off-season as Jeff Choate and his staff prepare for their second season together.

MISSOULA — With the clocking winding down and an upset to remember drawing near, Montana State first-year head coach Jeff Choate took a moment to think things over.

With his Bobcats facing a fourth down and one yard to go, Choate did not hesitate after pondering during a 30-second timeout. MSU offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham had a short-yardage play filled with deception up his sleeve, a play the Bobcats had saved since fall camp. The play: show a handoff to senior running back Chad Newell, fake a fumble by the quarterback, assume possession and throw over the top to the secondary tight end.

With MSU clinging to a 24-17 lead here against fierce rival Montana and in the midst of a drive that would end up lasting the entire final six minutes and 20 seconds of the game, Choate and Messingham concurred that the time for the play was upon them. The team hadn’t run it earlier in the year against Idaho and the Bobcats missed that upset bid, losing by three points in Moscow to open the Choate era.

But when Choate and Messingham relayed the gambling decision to MSU true freshman quarterback Chris Murray, the Bobcat signal caller hesitated.

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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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