After last week's 41-16 drubbing of Northern Colorado, Montana State remains on an offensive roll. It was noted by MSU's sports information office today that the Bobcats have scored 30 or more points in first the four games of a season for the first time since 1956.
This week, the Cats begin a stretch of two straight road games with a trip to Southern Utah. This will be their first-ever sojourn to SUU. They'll have to contend with Thunderbirds quarterback Brad Sorensen, one of the top QBs in the Big Sky Conference.
But the T'birds will have to slow down MSU's offense, too. And that's proven to be a tough task for the Bobcats' four opponents so far. Here are a few notes reflecting MSU's early-season offensive surge under first-year coordinator Kevin McGiven:
- Quarterback DeNarius McGhee has thrown at least one touchdown pass in an amazing 29 consecutive games. McGhee has nine touchdown passes so far this year, to go along with a league-high 1,044 yards.
- Wide receiver Tanner Bleskin caught 10 passes and went over 100 yards receiving for the second straight week last Saturday. Bleskin averages 105 yards per game, which ranks in the Top 15 in the nation.
- MSU's red-zone prowess has been pretty remarkable to date. In 23 trips inside the 20-yard-line, the Bobcats have put points up 20 times, 18 of which were touchdowns. They went 5 for 5 last week in the win over Northern Colorado.
- The Bobcats have also been pretty dominant on third down. They're converting first downs on 57 percent of those plays, and against Northern Colorado went 9 for 15 -- a 60 percent success rate.
- RB Cody Kirk has scored six touchdowns, which ranks in a tie with Northern Arizona's Zach Bauman and North Dakota's Mitch Sutton for tops in the Big Sky Conference. The Bobcats have been much more more pass-heavy on offense this season, but Kirk still averages 4.3 yards per carry and is on pace for his second straight 1,000-yard campaign.
One subplot is the showdown between quarterbacks McGhee and Sorensen. McGhee averages 261 passing yards per game, and is the No. 3-rated QB in the Big Sky. Sorensen, who transferred from BYU a couple years ago, averages 242 yards per game and has heaved 11 TDs. Clearly, both defenses will be put to the test.
This game also could come down to turnovers: SUU is a staggering plus-7 in turnover margin, while the Bobcats are minus-3.