Montana State FCS Football 2012 Playoff Capsule

Montana State Bobcats
Big Sky


Montana State has had one of the most efficient offenses in the nation during the 2012 campaign. The offense is just fourth in the conference in total yards, but they score the most points. The offense may not be as explosive as some other teams out there, but they can punch it into the end zone thanks to the steady hand of quarterback DeNarius McGhee and a solid ground attack led by Cody Kirk and Orenzo Davis.

2012 Record: 10-1, 7-1
Coach: Rob Ash

Big Wins: 9/15 Stephen F. Austin (43-35), 11/3 at Sacramento State (20-17)
Bad Losses: 10/13 Eastern Washington (24-27)

The Bobcats defense can make the big plays that change the game. Caleb Schreibeis has put up some amazing numbers during his senior season. More impressive than his 12.0 sacks and seven quarterback hurries is Schreibeis’ seven forced fumbles. That is a lot of forced fumbles and a lot of potential big turnovers for Montana State. Linebacker Jody Owens is a big hitter too and one of the most sure-tacklers in the Big Sky. Add Brad Dsaly and Zach Minter to the list of pass rushers and Montana State will be in the quarterback’s face for most of the game. That leads to opportunities for the secondary to pick off some passes and Darius Jones and Steven Bethley will not allow many of those opportunities to pass them by.

The offensive numbers are good, but they are not great either. McGhee is a good passer who can make plays with his legs when needed. There are good targets in Tanner Bleskin and Jon Ellis. The ground game has two quality backs in Kirk and Davis. This is a tough team to stop when they find that offensive balance. However, Montana State has been surprisingly untested this season. The non-conference slate had just one game of any significance. Montana State beat Stephen F. Austin 43-35 in Bozeman. Their other non-conference games came against Chadron State and Drake. That is a smart non-conference schedule for a team in a major conference like the Big Sky. But the expanded Big Sky turned out to leave out some of the best teams in the conference. The top four are pretty clear cut with Montana State, Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and Cal Poly highlighting the Big Sky in 2012. Of those teams, Montana State only played EWU. And the Bobcats lost that game at home. Winning at Southern Utah and Sacramento State are very good results, but this is a Bobcats team that only played one playoff caliber team all year…and they lost.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Cody Kirk, RB, 815 yards
Passing: DeNarius McGhee, QB, 2,726 yards
Receiving: Tanner Bleskin, WR, 722 yards
Tackles: Jody Owens, LB, 82
Sacks: Caleb Schreibeis, DE, 12.0
Interceptions: Darius Jones, CB, 4

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 188.20 (30th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 252.60 (25, 6)
Total Offense: 440.80 (17, 4)
Scoring Offense: 38.70 (8, 1)
Rushing Defense: 88.90 (4, 1)
Pass Defense: 216.40 (65, 2)
Total Defense: 305.20 (12, 1)
Scoring Defense: 22.20 (40, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.20 (49, 5)
Sacks: 3.40 (3, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.30 (73, 7)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    Second Round    Defeated New Hampshire
2011    Quarterfinals        Lost to Sam Houston State
2010    Second Round    Lost to North Dakota State
2006    First Round        Defeated Furman
2006    Quarterfinals        Lost to Appalachian State
2003    First Round        Lost to Northern Iowa
2002    First Round        Lost to McNeese State
1984    Quarterfinals        Defeated Arkansas State
1984    Semifinals        Defeated Rhode Island
1984    Championship        Defeated Louisiana Tech

*all team stats through 11/10


Playoff Central