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'Next man up' for Montana State running backs

Posted: 4:20 PM, Nov 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-11 13:45:25-05
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GREELEY, Colo. -- It’s getting repetitive to say Montana State’s offense is multi-faceted.

Each week, the Bobcats seem to find new weapons, and different players record breakout games. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the running back room, where injuries and other circumstances have shuffled different runners into starting and starring roles, as MSU head coach Jeff Choate chooses to ride the hot hand.

Six different Bobcats have recorded 100-plus-yard rushing performances this season, and six different players have also led the team in rushing. Isaiah Ifanse, Lane Sumner, Logan Jones, Shane Perry and Damareus Hosey have all taken turns being the featured back at times this season, while Troy Andersen and Travis Jonsen have also provided 100-yard rushing games this season.

This week In a 45-14 over Northern Colorado, it was Jones (11 carries, 122 yards) and Sumner (seven carries, 70 yards) leading the way. Sumner says the mindset in the running back room is always "next man up."

“It’s a great group, everyone pushes each other. We all kind of want our little slice of the pie,” said Sumner, the Huntley Project product. "It’s a fun group to be a part of, we get after it.”

It certainly helps when all-conference utility player Andersen lines up on offense.

“Any time he’s in the game, four guys are on him and that opens up the rest of us,” laughed Sumner. “We joke about having ‘Troy holes,’ because any runs that happen when we’re in don’t really count because no one is paying attention to us and everyone is paying attention to Troy.”

The most impressive part of Saturday’s performance was that the Cats did it without starting tailback Ifanse and offensive spark plug Jonsen – both of whom were held out with injuries Saturday but should be back for the final two regular-season games and whatever postseason fate awaits the Cats.

Montana State (7-3 overall, 4-2 Big Sky Conference) will face UC Davis (5-5, 3-3) on the road next Saturday.