BOZEMAN — Montana State’s offense lit up the scoreboard last Saturday night in a 45-7 win over Drake. However, this Bobcat offense is different than years past. With junior quarterback Matt McKay at the helm, if the run game struggles, he can go out and put points on the board.
“Honestly, it’s awesome," said junior running back Isaiah Ifanse, who had 19 carries for 60 yards against the Bulldogs. "He's cool and collected I would say. If they’re going to load the box, we always have the weapons outside and the quarterback to get the job done. If they’re going to play a lighter box, we’re going to be running the ball.”
In the coming fall and winter months being a pass heavy team could be a problem, but offensive coordinator Taylor Housewright is trying to have more balance than the previous coaching staff.
“I think they’re getting better in the pass game and we’re trying to continue to grow it," he said. "It’s kind of been something in that past that’s just been run, run, run -- right wrong and different. I’d like to have the ability to do both. I think you can be a pretty good offense when you can do that.”
Both Housewright and head coach Brent Vigen talked about the growth in McKay’s decision making from week one to week two. Through two games, the quarterback has a 71% completion percentage, 456 yards passing, five passing touchdowns and zero turnovers.
“I think he’s taking what they give him right now," said Housewright. "He’s not forcing anything. He’s not going up to the line of scrimmage saying, 'I’m throwing this ball here no matter what.' He’s looking at the defense and finding green grass and throwing away from defenders and ultimately that’s what you’re trying to do.”
If teams continue to stack the box to stop the Bobcats, McKay has trust in receivers, as he found eight of them for a completion in Saturday night's game. Bozeman native and senior Lance McCutcheon is leading that group with 12 receptions and 192 yards, with two receiving touchdowns.
“He just understands what coaches want him to do offensively and I know he’s always going to do the right thing," said McKay about his connection with the receiver. "If we mess up on a connection or something, I know that I can trust him and come back to him.”
Despite the success in the pass game, Housewright wants McKay to know he has a ways to go to get the team where they want to go.
“He doesn’t have time to relax or think that he’s really good, because he’s not yet, but he’s playing some good ball for us right now and we’re going to continue to try and grow him,” he said.
Montana State takes on the University of San Diego at home at 1 p.m. on Saturday.