Final Preseason Scrimmage for the MSU Bobcats until Regular Seas - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Final Preseason Scrimmage for the MSU Bobcats until Regular Season

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BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State’s offense came out firing and stayed hot for most of Saturday’s 80-play scrimmage, the final live session of fall camp.

“I thought the offense looked exceptionally sharp, running and passing,” ninth-year Bobcat coach Rob Ash said after his team scored five offensive touchdowns in its final scrimmage of fall camp. “Dakota (Prukop, senior quarterback) was sharp, the line was really good, it was a good dress rehearsal for the offense.”

Prukop and the team’s top offensive unit marched 75 yards in eight plays to open the scrimmage, with Chad Newell punching it in from two yards out. Newell carried four times for 15 yards on the drive, while fellow junior running back Gunnar Brekke carried once for four yards. Both missed last week’s scrimmage with minor injuries.

That drive completed Newell’s work for the day, while Brekke finished with four carries for 18 yards and two pass receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Ash was pleased with the work of both. “Newell ran well today,” Ash said. “Brekke is 100 percent, he looked really good. He is such a versatile performer because he is an outstanding receiver and he can also run between the tackles and he’s got some good speed, which he showed.”

A big factor in the team’s offensive play was the return of tackle Alex Eekhoff and guard Kyle Godecke, who have each continued to rehabilitate from injuries through fall camp. “I think it showed when those two guys were in there,” Ash said. “I think their experience showed. We were right on target with every play that we ran as far as getting hats on a hat, and that allowed our skill guys to have some room to operate, and they’re pretty good.”

Senior quarterback Jake Bleskin performed extremely well, completing 10 of his 12 pass attempts for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He operated both the ones and the twos. “We wanted to get (Bleskin) some turns with the ones, we wanted to get Jordan Hoy some turns with the twos, and we just wanted to get (Brady) McChesney and (Ben) Folsom some turns,” Ash said. “That was the plan from the beginning. Dakota knew he was going to play one series.”

Ash lauded Bleskin’s play. “We didn’t miss a beat with Jake in the game, and that’s what we wanted to find out today, if we needed to put Jake in a game how would it look? I was really happy with that.”

Bleskin engineered one of the day’s impressive drives, which covered 51 yards in only two plays. He found sophomore receiver Jayshawn Gates for a 42-yard gain on first down, then hit him again for a nine-yard touchdown play on the next snap. “I came out today with the expectation of making big plays,” Gates said. “That’s a big thing for me, my mindset.”

In his first extended workload of the fall, redshirt freshman running back Noah James proved to be a workhorse. He carried 14 times for 69 yards, scoring one touchdown. He also caught a 13-yard pass. Classmate Johnny D’Agostino, who Ash identified as one of the young players making a push into the depth chart, caught a scrimmage-high six passes.

Veterans Tanner Roderick (two catches, 46 yards) and Mitchell Herbert (two for 47) performed well on Saturday. Ash liked what he saw from his receivers. “I thought generally our receivers did a very good job of running with the ball,” he said. “They caught it well, but ran with the ball well after the catch, too, made some guys miss. Of course I’ve got to look at the defensive side of that as the head coach and say, we’ve got to make better open field tackles.”

Freshman linebacker Josh Hill provided the day’s only interception, while Joe Naotala recovered a fumble. Ash said that in spite of the offensive fireworks, he will withhold judgment on the defense’s play until reviewing film.

“I’ve got to look at the film and see,” he said when asked of his concern level. “If we’re there in position and not making plays, that’s one issue. If we’re not there, if we’re turning guys loose and we’re not sound, that’s a different issue. My first reaction is that we’ve got a lot of defense in and we’ve got an offense that’s very multiple and we just have too many overlays. It’s hard for it to match up right now. So we probably need to cut a little bit – and we will when we get into a specific game plan preparation.”

The Bobcats take Sunday and Monday, the first day of classes for the 2015-16 academic year at MSU, off from practice. The teams returns to camp mode, albeit practicing only once each day, on Tuesday and Wednesday before a mock game on Thursday. Preparation for the season opener on Sept. 3 against Fort Lewis begins next Friday.

RUSHING: Noah James 14-69-1, Gunnar Brekke 4-18-1, Chad Newell 4-15-1, Tavon Dodd  5-9-0, Logan Jones 5-3-0.

PASSING: Jake Bleskin 10-12-0, 196, 2 TD; Dakota Prukop 2-2-0, 45, 0; Jordan Hoy 7-11-0, 53, 0; Brady McChesney 3-4-0, 14, 0;

Ben Folsom 2-7-1, 17, 0.

RECEIVING: Johnny D’Agostino 6-36-0, Tanner Roderick 2-36-0, Mitchell Herbert 2-47-0, Curtis Amos 2-12-0, Gunnar Brekke 2-66-1, Jayshawn Gates 2-51-1, Mitch Griebel 1-13-0, Wilson Brott 1-4-0, Connor Sullivan 1-6-0, Brandon Brown 1-2-0, Woody Brandom 1-6-0, Noah James 1-13-0, Will Krolick 1-5-0, Logan Jones 1-28-0.

DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS

SACKS: Marcus Ferriter-1, Nate Bignell 1.5, Grant Collins-1.5, Shiloh LaBoy-1, Tyrone Fa’anono-1

OTHER TACKLES-FOR-LOSS: Rob Walsh-1, Joe Naotala-1

FUMBLE RECOVERY: Joe Naotala-1

PASS BREAKUPS: Brayden Konkol-1, Trace Timmer-1

INTERCEPTIONS: Josh Hill-1

SCORING SUMMARY

Chad Newell 2 run (Luke Daly)

Gunnar Brekke 50 from Jake Bleskin (Mitch Griebel run failed)

Gunnar Brekke 1 run (Daly)

Jayshawn Gates 9 from Jake Bleskin (Mitch Griebel to Mitchell Herbert)

Luke Daly 47-yard field goal

Noah James 5 run (Daly)

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