BOZEMAN — With an efficient and competitive field general moving the sticks, a bruising running back with top-notch vision softening the pocket and a world-class athlete stretching the field, the 2011 Bobcats moved the ball up and down the field with a balanced attack that sparked Montana State to a second straight Big Sky Conference championship.
In 2012, quarterback DeNarius McGhee returned to earn his second Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year award in three seasons and Cody Kirk returned as a 1,000-yard rusher. Although burner wide receiver Elvis Akpla graduated, the Bobcats still had steady possession pass catcher Tanner Bleskin.
Each of Montana State’s last two league championship seasons ended against the same foe. For two straight years in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, Sam Houston State’s spread option offense, but more importantly, the Bearkats’ long, lean and smothering defense harnessed the Bobcats.
Defensive backs like Daxton Swanson and Darnell Taylor used their length and physicality to smother Akpla and Bleskin at the line of scrimmage. The man coverage scheme allowed the Bearkats to blitz aggressively and stack the box, in turn bottling up Kirk and Tray Robinson, rendering the Bobcat offense stagnant in a pair of season-ending playoff losses.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.