So tell me ... How good is Denarius McGhee?

2010-10-10T14:50:00Z 2010-10-13T16:48:08Z So tell me ... How good is Denarius McGhee?Greg Rachac The Billings Gazette

I'm hoping to get some good feedback from Bobcat fans on this, because I think it's worth discussing. The topic: Denarius McGhee's impact for the Montana State Bobcats.

If you ask me, the Texas gunslinger's presence at quarterback has been the No. 1 factor in MSU's offensive resurgence, not to mention its standing as the frontrunner in the Big Sky Conference race. Not since Travis Lulay have the Cats possessed such a Denarius McGhee rolls outdynamic threat at quarterback, one capable of taking games over on his own.

And he's only a redshirt freshman.

McGhee's statistical contributions speak for themselves. After six games, he leads the league in total offense (286.2 yards per game), is tied for the lead in touchdown passes (13), is second in passing yards (1,568) and has the No. 1 efficiency rating among starters (159.9).

It must be said that much of this has to do with the addition of offensive coordinator Brian Wright, who has coached the Bobcats to an average of more than 516 yards of offense (yeah, you read that right) per game. But McGhee is driving the bus. And it hasn't veered off course.

And don't forget about turnovers. In the previous three years under coach Rob Ash, the Bobcats were notorious for being on the minus-end of the turnover ledger. So far this year they are plus-6, which leads the Big Sky Conference, and their seven giveaways are by far the fewest in the league. That's been a huge factor, and McGhee's been a major reason for the turnaround.

The Bobcats are most impressed with McGhee's calm demeanor under center. He never seems to get rattled. He takes one play at a time, and is only focused on the task at hand, which is execution and getting the ball in the end zone. That was also evident in Saturday's 44-31 comeback win over Portland State. It's no coincidence that MSU is 31 of 33 in red zone scoring chances this year, which also leads the league.

So I ask: How good is McGhee? Where does he rank among the top players in the Big Sky? How about the nation? What will his career look in four years when it's all said and done?

The Bobcats are off to their best start since 1978. And I believe McGhee is the reason for the renaissance.

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Greg Rachac

Sportswriter for The Billings Gazette covering Montana and Montana State athletics in addition to various high school sports.

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