Danny Woodhead is in the NFL. So Montana State fans can breathe easy. Woodhead ran all over MSU the last time Chadron State visited Bobcat Stadium in 2006, handing the Cats an embarrassing defeat.
But that is a distant memory. And if an upset of that magnitude happens this time, something is terribly wrong.
These Bobcats are pretty loaded from top to bottom, making them the obvious choice to win the Big Sky Conference by both the coaches and the media. Kickoff for MSU's annual "Gold Rush" is just a couple days away. They take on Division II Chadron State on Thursday in the first-ever night game at Bobcat Stadium. And the Cats are expected to win going away.
First-year Chadron coach Jay Long likes what he sees from his team entering the season. But this will be a daunting challenge. Here are a few notes on we can look forward to seeing from the Eagles on Thursday night in Bozeman (per Con Marshall at CSC):
- Offensive coordinator Chris Stein, who has been associated with CSC football for 16 years as a player and coach, says the Eagles “have never had two better quarterbacks at the same time” than Jonn McLain and Brandon Gorsuch. Both have been starters. McLain started as a redshirt freshman in 2010, and completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,894 yards and 16 touchdowns. When McLain suffered a thumb injury that sidelined him after the second game last year, Gorsuch took over and completed 60.3 percent of his tosses for 2,089 yards and 18 TDs.
- During the last two seasons, RB Glen Clinton has carried 370 times for 1,788 yards and 12 touchdowns while Dominic Morris has 182 carries for 993 yards and six TDs. Both also catch the ball well.
- A pair of huge seniors, Keifer Burke and Jan Karlos Medina, both 6-3, 280 pounds, put the defensive line high on the plus side. Both are all-conference caliber. They combined for 86 tackles, including 23 for a minus 80 yards, last fall. Senior LB Kevin Lindholm is a two-time all-RMAC choice and has received preseason All-American honors.
- Defensive back is an area where the Eagles have both quantity and quality. Three seniors -- Bryce Huebner, Phil Rivera and Cody Wockenfuss -- are in the mix. Junior standout Trelan Taylor has been a regular the past two years. All of the others, Conor Casey, Pierre Etchemendy, Lane Haller, Jojo Phillips, Clint Sasse and Tyler Wright, have seen considerable playing time.