McGhee's value to Cats goes beyond stats
Now a senior, DeNarius McGhee has governed Montana State's offense immeasurably throughout his career.
Since the day he was named (anointed?) the starting quarterback before the 2010 season, the Bobcats have put up roughly 35 points and 445 yards per game. And that's the best run of sustained offensive production in school history.
But McGhee's passing numbers weren't up to par in MSU's previous game before its bye week, a 36 7 rough up of Northern Arizona at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman. McGhee completed just seven passes for 72 yards both career lows and served up his first interception of the year.
Still, coach Rob Ash doesn't buy the notion that McGhee was floundering. The low totals weren't cause for apprehension. It was a result of the flow of the game, he said.
"They had to defend (McGhee) in the run game," Ash said last week. "He scrambled for at least two first downs, he ran for a touchdown. His presence was extremely valuable.
"Passing game wise, they were right on top of us. They pressed us man to man, and we didn't have a lot of opportunities. Plus, the run game started to work and we were ahead. It was a good way to keep the ball away from their offense. The game plan morphed cheap nfl jerseys toward the running game and there was no reason to go away from it."
McGhee missed two games earlier in the season because of a separated throwing shoulder, and he uncharacteristically has thrown just one touchdown pass so far. For record seekers, it doesn't bode well (McGhee came into the season on the cusp of several individual Big Sky Conference marks).
But within a team concept, the cheap jerseys Cats are perhaps as dangerous on offense as they've been in the past four seasons. Cody Kirk's hard nosed running and the emergence of game breaker Shawn Johnson as an every down back give MSU one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the conference.
The Bobcats, at 2 0 in the Big Sky and 4 2 overall, are right where they expect to be in the mix for the league crown.
And you can only keep McGhee contained for so long. He's bound for more big plays and more big passing games before he exits stage left at the end of this season, perhaps starting this Saturday at Weber State.
Takeaways = turnaround
Montana's defense stole the ball from UC Davis twice during its 42 7 romp Saturday, as linebacker Brock Coyle and safety Bo Tully each made interceptions.
That puts the Grizzlies at plus 10 in turnover margin through six games, which leads the Big Sky Conference and ranks in a tie for fourth in the FCS.
There are many factors to Montana's resurgence after missing the playoffs last season: A powerful offensive line, tough red zone defense and limiting penalties are among them. But a rebound in turnover margin has tipped the scale.
Takeaways were the key to Montana's run to seven conference titles and three national championship game appearances under coach Bobby Hauck from 2003 09. Combined in that span, the Griz were an wholesale jerseys amazing plus 91 in turnover margin. That added up to 80 victories.
In Robin Pflugrad's two year stint as coach, Montana was a combined plus 4 on the turnover ledger minus 7 in 2010 when it missed the playoffs, and plus 11 in 2011 when it advanced to the semifinals.
The Grizzlies were minus 2 last season while going 5 6 in Mick Delaney's first year as coach. This year they're back on the plus side by double digits, and sit 5 1 overall and 2 1 in the league.
Blend that with a power running game that's cranking on all cylinders and Jordan Johnson's execution of UM's play action passing game, and you've got a contender.
With two more TD throws Saturday, Johnson now has 16 touchdowns passes and zero interceptions. He's thrown 144 consecutive passes without being picked off dating back to his sophomore season of 2011. Johnson has thrown just three INTs combined in his previous 14 games.
Bengals bounce back
A 40 26 home victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday was a special one for Idaho State and coach Mike Kramer.
With the win, the Bengals snapped a 17 game conference losing streak, and ended a skid of 21 consecutive losses to Division I competition dating back to a 50 20 victory over UNC on Sept. 17, 2011.
Idaho Sate is 3 3 overall, which marks its wholesale nfl jerseys best start after six games since 2005 when it was 4 2. The three victories match the Bengals' win total in the previous two seasons combined.
Xavier Finney rushed for 146 yards in the win on Saturday. 5 in The Sports Network's latest Top 25 poll, released Monday. And with the big win at UC Davis, the Grizzlies (5 1) slid ahead one spot to No. 10.
No. 4 Eastern Washington (4 2) rolled to a 35 14 victory at North Dakota on Saturday, and jumped ahead two spots. Northern Arizona (4 2), in spite of a 39 38 win over Sacramento State, dipped four spots to No. 19.
Nationally, three undefeated teams remain in the poll: No. 1 North Dakota State (6 0), No. 6 Coastal Carolina (6 0) and No. 8 Fordham (7 0).
Keep an eye on Fordham. The Rams, of the Patriot League, have notable wins against Villanova, Lehigh and Division I FBS Temple. In last week's 34 12 victory over Georgetown, quarterback Michael Nebrich tied an FCS single game record with 20 consecutive completions, and finished with 405 yards passing.