BOZEMAN – Since Chris Murray took over the starting quarterback position midway through last season, Montana State’s rushing attack has been the focal point of the offense.

While Murray’s passing has improved — the Bobcat quarterback has thrown for 648 yards and eight touchdowns so far this season — his legs are still a big reason MSU is thriving on offense.

“Good thing he’s fast, that’s my biggest thing,” said center Alex Neale. “Obviously you’re not going to know which way Chris is going, but, like I said, good thing he’s fast, so he just slips on by you and you don’t even notice.”

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Murray is the true definition of a dual-threat quarterback. The sophomore has improved his accuracy in the passing game and gives defenses headaches with his unparalleled speed and his ability to extend plays.

“You have about three seconds before you’re getting that pressure off, and I think a guy who is not as mobile maybe takes a sack, but a guy like Chris has the ability to scramble out and make plays,” said wide receiver Kevin Kassis.

And that combination of speed and accuracy gives him an advantage on the field.

“Last year I would say I was just a run-first quarterback and even certain cases in some games this year,” said Murray. “My goal is to be a dual-threat and to do whatever I need to do to put our team in the best position to win.”

On the season, Murray is the team’s leading rusher, with 543 yards on 81 attempts (6.7 yards per carry). But when he decides to take off, it makes the offensive line’s job a bit harder.

“About three seconds I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, this kid’s about to run somewhere, I got to move this guy to some side,” said Neale.

Murray loves his multifaceted game.

“I feel like (being a threat to run) is always a plus, because if you’re a pocket passer and nothing is there – even if your checkdown’s not there, then what do you do?” said Murray.

“(Coaches are) telling him, ‘When you see open grass, take it,’” said Kassis, “because that’s just another dimension of our offense.”