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Bleskin has big day in Bobcats' final scrimmage
The DeNarius McGhee-to-Tanner Bleskin combination played a huge role in Montana State going 11-2 and winning a share of its third straight Big Sky Conference title last fall.
The duo posted big numbers again Saturday during the Bobcats’ final scrimmage of spring drills.
McGhee threw for 167 yards and Bleskin caught six passes for 106 yards as MSU wrapped up its annual Triangle Classic with a scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. McGhee completed 12 of 19 passes and didn’t throw an interception.
It was a strong homecoming for Bleskin, who starred at CMR High School before going on to play collegiately at Montana State.
“Tanner was very good today, and it was pretty balanced, with a lot of good plays on both sides,” said seventh-year Bobcats coach Rob Ash. “The (No. 1) offense took another step forward, but the defense kept them out of the end zone until the final drive. I saw a lot of good things today.”
On Wednesday, Ash said the scrimmage would be more of a scheme evaluation than a typical game, and there were only four scoring plays: A 20-yard pass from backup quarterback Dakota Prukop to Chris Houden, a 33-yard field goal by Rory Perez, a 23-yard run by QB Mitch Griebel, and a 2-yard run by Cody Dopps.
MSU’s first offense marched the ball to the opposing 35-yard line on its first drive, with Cody Kirk ripping off a 20-yard run on the drive. It stalled there, though, when linebacker Na’a Moeakiola broke up McGhee’s pass on fourth down.
Neither side threatened again until Prukop led the No. 2 offense on a 90-yard scoring drive, aided by a defensive personal foul. Prukop’s 55-yard run kick-started the drive.
Prukop and Mitch Griebel were each “live” in terms of tackling, while McGhee and backup QB Jake Bleskin wore red jerseys signifying no contact.
Bleskin led the first offense on a long drive, moving the ones to the 20-yard line which led to Perez’s field goal. Bleskin completed six passes on the drive, including one to his brother Tanner.
Each of MSU’s quarterbacks posted strong numbers. Aside from McGhee, who is returning for his fourth season as starter, Jake Bleskin finished 6-for-9 for 60 yards. Prukop completed four of his six passes for 45 yards.
Griebel, an Air Force transfer, carried four times for 10 yards, and was 2-of-5 passing for 17 yards. Bobby Crane completed his only pass for seven yards.
Prukop, who has battled McGhee, Griebel and Tanner Bleskin for the No. 2 quarterback position, led the Bobcats with 75 rushing yards.
Defensively, the Bobcats had six sacks (two by defensive lineman Nate Bignell), nine tackles for loss and six pass breakups. Backup linebacker Fletcher Collins made a fumble recovery, the only takeaway of the day.
In addition to the scrimmage, the Bobcats announced their team captains for the 2013 season. Tanner Bleskin, Kirk, Moeakiola and defensive end Brad Daly and – all seniors-to-be – were voted by their teammates to the captaincy.
The two-day Triangle Classic is the primary annual fundraiser for MSU football.
Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson was the featured speaker during a banquet Friday Night at the Four Seasons Arena. More than 1,000 Bobcats fans and boosters attended.
By Billings Gazette