Sophomore Dakota Prukop was named the starting quarterback at Montana State leading up to the Bobcats’ Aug. 30 season opener at Arkansas State.
Montana State football coach Rob Ash and offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey announced the decision Monday. Prukop emerged as the starter after jockeying for the position during fall camp with junior Jake Bleskin and redshirt freshman Quinn McQueary.
“We have great choices, it was a tremendous battle, all the guys performed superbly, and I thought Saturday was a tour de force,” Ash said. “It was a beautiful performance by three competitors who were all fighting in their last audition to prove what they can bring to the table. They all three were outstanding. I’m very excited about this position for our football team.”
Prukop compiled no stats in his lone outing last season against North Dakota. Ash said Prukop’s advances in the passing game and the mechanics of playing quarterback since the spring pushed him into the starting role.
“I think he gives us a dimension in the run game that’s extremely intriguing, and since the spring his pass efficiency, passing ability, has improved and continues to get better.”
Prukop finished the team’s final full-scale audition on Saturday with an 8-for-9 passing performance, throwing for 92 yards and a touchdown and running for nearly 50 yards. Ash indicated that Prukop has remained equally impressive in areas that don’t show up in the stats.
“What (Prukop) did well in camp was manage the offense,” Ash said. “He’s in the right place, his eyes are in the right place, his reads are to the right place, he gets guys lined up. There were no issues with that in spite of his youth and lack of experience. Dakota has really made great gains in this area since the spring.”
Monday’s announcement closes competition at the quarterback position, Ash said.
“We’re not going to rotate or throw this thing open over the next few weeks more than likely,” he said. “This is a choice we’re going to go with. We’ll let Dakota run with it and see what happens. We’re not going to have him on a short leash just because the competition was tight. I feel like you’ve got to give a guy the chance to go play without looking over his shoulder.”
NOTES: On Tuesday, the NCAA granted a waiver to senior linebacker Michael Foster, who will be reinstated to the Bobcats after he serves a four-game suspension to open the season.
Foster was declared academically ineligible by MSU and the NCAA after the spring semester. The engineering major completed a waiver request based on personal, academic and athletic extenuating circumstances, which the NCAA granted. Foster is expected to begin his five-day acclimation period immediately, and pending the completion of his paperwork could begin practice as early as Tuesday. Foster was Montana State’s starting middle linebacker throughout the 2013 season, compiling 73 tackles, second-most on the team, while recovering a team-high three fumbles.
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