(Editor's note: Montana State athletics release.)
BOZEMAN — Many thoughts ran through Montana State football coach Brent Vigen’s mind during his team’s only full scrimmage of the 2023 preseason Saturday, but among them wasn’t the one thing that becomes the main point when the Bobcats host Utah Tech on Sept. 2.
“Walking off (the field) you reinforce that today wasn’t about keeping score,” Montana State’s third-year coach said. “It’s about putting guys in situations.”
Many situations arose during the 99 plays that covered just over two hours, and the results pleased Vigen.
“It was good to have our first and really only scrimmage of about two hours behind us,” he said. “It’ll be good to pop the film in and see how it looked. First impression is that it was a physical affair. When you think about our O-line and D-line that’s the way it should be, and there was definitely some give-and-take there.”
While the Cats have conducted several practices in full pads, full-scale tackling to the ground occurs primarily in scrimmage situations.
Saturday’s session marks MSU’s only full scrimmage this preseason, and Vigen said the team’s running backs took advantage. Wisconsin transfer Julius Davis carried 10 times for 52 yards, while freshman Scottre Humphrey carried nine times for 22 yards. On the day, Bobcat running backs carried 28 times for 126 yards.
“I think our running backs got some good opportunities, in particular the new faces in there; Julius Davis and Scottre Humphrey, that they haven’t had,” Vigen said. “I think we know what we have in Lane Sumner, we know what we have in Elijah (Elliott), but then how does that play out with those guys that haven’t been around. Even getting Jared White back was good today.”
One segment of the offense that wasn’t present Saturday impacts the entire offense once games begin, Vigen said.
“The element we didn’t have today with Tommy (Mellott) and Sean (Chambers off limits for tackling) is the quarterback run game. It’s a portion of our offense,” Vigen said.
Mellott (7 for 12, 44 yards) and Chambers (2 for 7, nine yards) led the team’s top offensive units, while the team’s young quarterbacks combined for 7-for-18 passing for 30 yards with a pair of interceptions.
“I thought we made some plays in the passing game, but it probably wasn’t perfect by any means. The credit goes to the defense,” Vigen said.
Montana State’s defense performed well collectively and individually. Including quarterback runs — Mellott and Chambers were tagged off, while Jordan Reed, Chance Wilson and Luke Abshire were live — the defense allowed just 209 yards with two interceptions, both by Takhari Carr, and one fumble recovered.
“I thought during the course of camp we appeared to be a team that can cover better, and that showed up today,” Vigen said. “I’ve said all along that our secondary, while not very experienced, is very talented. We have a lot of guys that can run, and I think that will show up on film. The ability to get after the passer has to be something we can really to hang our hat on, and I think that appeared to be the case today.”
Davis scored the day’s only touchdown, a 4-yard run. Brendan Hall, an SMU transfer, nailed two field goals, one from 45 yards and the other from 26.
Montana State resumes practice on Monday and Tuesday before classes begin Wednesday.