Montana State Rolls Past UC Davis 38-14

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – Cody Kirk lasted one game as Montana State’s starting running back a year ago. It only took the sophomore from Frenchtown, Mont., one game to show a record home crowd why he won it back.

Kirk rushed for 155 yards — 13 more than his entire freshman season — and two touchdowns, and quarterback DeNarius McGhee threw for two TDs and ran for another as the sixth-ranked Bobcats routed future Big Sky Conference rival UC Davis 38-14 in front of 18,487 in newly expanded Bobcat Stadium.

Kirk scored on 5- and 1-yard runs and caught two passes for 54 yards as Montana State (1-1) rolled up 507 yards in total offense. He started last season’s 59-10 rout of Fort Lewis, watched Orenzo Davis run for 1,126 yards to lead the Bobcats to a Big Sky championship, then spent the offseason determined to rewrite the script.

“It makes you hungry,” Kirk said. “It’s hard when something is taken from you. You want to go back and get it.”

Said Montana State coach Rob Ash: “What Cody Kirk figured out was he was going to have to improve himself athletically to play more. He dedicated himself to getting quicker and faster. You could see his explosive first step.”

McGhee threw touchdown strikes of 21 yards to Elvis Akpla and 36 to Kruiz Siewing before adding a 10-yard run to give the Bobcats a 28-7 lead one play before halftime. He was 15-for-26 for 257 yards and an interception.

“Our offense is extremely versatile,” McGhee said.

UC Davis (0-2) looked primed for its Big Sky debut next season on its first drive. The Aggies drove 77 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 24-yard pass from Randy Wright to Tom Hemmingsen.

But the Bobcats responded with a 90-yard, 11-play drive to tie it, capped off by Kirk’s 1-yard plunge, and the Aggies could muster little offense thereafter. Wright was 15 for 33 passing for 179 yards and two TDs, but UC Davis had only 253 total yards.

“We didn’t get any rhythm going in our offense,” Aggies coach Bob Biggs said. “We started to get the run going but we dropped a couple balls and we weren’t very accurate today. We tightened things up in the second half but unfortunately we couldn’t get anything together offensively.”

It didn’t help that the Aggies were up against the largest crowd in Montana State history, bolstered by an end-zone seating addition that added about 4,000 to capacity.

“Wow, wow,” McGhee said of the packed house. “You build it and they will come. What was it, 18,000 or something? That’s impressive. This program is on the rise.”

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