Posted: Nov 20, 2012 5:17 PM by Ted Dawson
Updated: Nov 20, 2012 5:19 PM
Jody Owens and DeNarius McGhee joined some impressive company Tuesday, adding league MVP honors to their resumes while leading a strong Montana State contingent of All-Big Sky selections.
Owens, a senior linebacker from Mesquite, Tex., became Montana State's sixth Big Sky Defensive MVP and the fourth Bobcat so honored in the last decade - most in the conference in that time - while McGhee became one of 11 players in league history selected Offensive MVP twice. Owens and McGhee joined four teammates on the All-Big Sky First Team.
"We coach our guys that when you play for the team good things happen to individuals, and this is a fabulous reward for some outstanding players," said Montana State coach Rob Ash. "This is a special group of players who have led in our program by working hard and focusing on their roles and their jobs, and I'm glad that effort was rewarded."
Ash approved of the MVP honors bestowed on Owens and McGhee by league head coaches. "DeNarius' most special attribute is his ability to win," Ash said. "He never gives up on a play, never gives up on a series, never gives up on a game, never gives up on a teammate. He finds a way to get it done over and over. DeNarius is the most amazing winner as a quarterback that I've ever coached."
Owens' ascent to Big Sky Defensive MVP honors caps an impressive two years for one of the first players to commit to Ash's program during the coach's first full recruiting class in 2008. "Jody Owens came to Montana State because he appreciated that this is a football school in a community and state that love this sport," Ash said. "He has been a tremendously productive player and a tremendous leader."
Owens was a unanimous All-Big Sky selection for the second straight season after finishing among the Big Sky leaders in fumbles forced (four) and tackles-for-loss (11). He led the Bobcats with 82 tackles while sacking the opposing quarterback three times, hurrying the passer twice and breaking up one pass. McGhee threw for 2,726 yards during the regular season, leading MSU to a regular season-record 10 wins. As a junior he has already set all-time MSU records for wins as a starting quarterback and touchdown passes, and heads into the playoffs with 22 scoring strikes and 2,979 yards of total offense.
Two former walk-ons joined McGhee and Owens as First Team selections, while another repeated and one other moved up from Second Team in 2011. Shaun Sampson came to MSU from Helena Capital as a walk-on weighing just more than 200 lbs, and Tuesday earned All-Big Sky honors at center. Defensive end Caleb Schreibeis came to MSU as a walk-on from Billings West, and after ranking as among the nation's leaders in forced fumbles and sacks also earned First Team status.
Schreibeis' line-mate Zach Minter, a senior defensive tackle, landed All-Big Sky honors for the second straight season in spite of missing significant time with injuries. Minter registered three sacks and seven tackles-for-loss in just nine games (one of which saw him participate in just three plays), logging an interception, a pass breakup, and two quarterback hurries. Safety Joel Fuller took the step from Second Team selection a year ago to First Team honors as a senior, recording 43 tackles with three pass breakups and one interception.
After rolling up a 10-1 regular season mark and winning a share of the Big Sky title, with Eastern Washington and Cal Poly this year, for the third straight season, the Bobcats' six first team choices led the league. MSU's sweep of the offensive and defensive MVP awards marked only the second time in the past seven seasons that one school has managed that feat, and the first time since 1997 that a school has managed to sweep the MVP awards with neither player sharing the award as a co-MVP.
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG SKY BOBCATS, 2012
QB DeNarius McGhee (jr., Euless, TX)**
C Shaun Sampson (sr., Helena, MT)
S Joel Fuller (sr., Libby, MT)
DT Zach Minter (sr., Glendale, AZ)**
LB Jody Owens (sr., Mesquite, TX)tiny_mce_markeramp;**
DE Caleb Schreibeis (sr., Billings, MT)
*-number of First Team selections &-unanimous selection $-also league MVP
SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG SKY BOBCATS, 2012
WR Tanner Bleskin (jr., Great Falls, MT)
OT Steven Foster (sr., Helena, MT)
RB Cody Kirk (jr., Frenchtown, MT)
DE Brad Daly (jr., Helena, MT)
CB Darius Jones (sr., Rockwall, TX)
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-BIG SKY BOBCATS, 2012
OG Quinn Catalano (so., San Diego, CA), FB Tray Robinson (sr., Euless, TX), K Rory Perez (jr., Moreno Valley, CA), LB Na'a Moeakiola (jr., Euless, TX), ST Michael Foster (so., Seabrook, TX), S Steven Bethley (Chino, CA), RS Shawn Johnson (so., Bakersfield, CA)
MULTIPLE-TIME BIG SKY MVPs
DeNarius McGhee, QB, Montana State, 2010/2012
Matt Nichols, QB, Eastern Washington, 2007/2009
Jason Murrietta, QB, Northern Arizona, 2003/2006
Erik Meyer, QB, Eastern Washington, 2004/2005
Charles Roberts, RB, Sacramento State, 1999/2000
Brian Ah Yat, QB, Montana, 1996/1998
Dave Dickenson, QB, Montana, 1993/1994/1995
Jamie Martin, QB, Weber State, 1990/1991
John Friesz, QB, Idaho, 1987/1988/1989
Ken Hobart, QB, Idaho, 1982/1983
BOBCAT OFFENSIVE MVPs
2012 - DeNarius McGhee, QB
2010 - DeNarius McGhee, QB
1984 - Kelly Bradley, QB
BOBCAT DEFENSIVE MVPs
2012 - Jody Owens, LB
2009 - Dane Fletcher, DE
2004 - Roger Cooper, LB
2003 - Kane Ioane, SS
1990 - Corey Widmer, DT
1984 - Mark Fellows, LB