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Montana State's passing game shows growth during spring ball

Tommy Mellott
Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 15, 2023

BOZEMAN — With the Sonny Holland Classic just one week away, Montana State football held another closed scrimmage Saturday.

While both quarterbacks Tommy Mellott and Jordan Reed had another strong showing in the passing game combining for 149 yards and two touchdowns, head coach Brent Vigen shared he was ultimately pleased with the wide receivers.

Vigen explained that the group has "continued to come along" this spring practice period, especially their new additions: Lonyatta Alexander Jr. and Ty McCullouch.

“I know Junior Alexander, Ty McCullouch again had a chance to make some plays and did so," Vigen said. "I think Clevan Thomas Jr. had some more opportunities. Obviously, he was with us last year, but we’re excited to get him back. That group continues to come along.”

Montana State ran a balanced offense Saturday accumulating 151 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, both of which were punched in by quarterback Chance Wilson who enrolled early this spring.

However, the big headline this week was Montana State’s new running backs coach Sam Mix who was elevated Friday after serving as an offensive analyst the past two seasons.

“(Sam has) had some opportunities to recruit, and when he’s done that, he’s done a really excellent job both on the evaluation side and then just the ability to interact with the young men," Vigen explained. "Pretty short search as far as that goes. Knew that Sam was capable of taking that role and really excited for him.”

On the other side of the ball, it was a big day for two Bobcat defenders.

Safety Rylan Ortt recorded an interception while defensive end Kenneth Eiden IV cooked up quite the stat line with 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and one quarterback hurry.

“We don’t tackle a whole bunch during the week, so when we come out here and have to tackle the football I thought we generally did that better today," Vigen added. "You’re talking about that core in the middle of linebackers and safeties, in particular, is a key component there, so a good day's work again and we’re excited to finish things out this week, and that opportunity next Saturday to be out here in a game setting is a really important day, too.”

Montana State will close out spring ball with its annual Sonny Holland Classic spring game next Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.