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Tommy Mellott-to-Taco Dowler touchdown highlights Montana State scrimmage

Tommy Mellott
Posted at 2:34 PM, Apr 15, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana State University news release)

BOZEMAN — Sometimes the best comes first, and that was the case for Montana State’s offense in the team’s second major closed scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning in Bobcat Stadium.

MSU’s starting offense struck on the first drive, capping a four-play, 70-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Mellott to Taco Dowler. After a 4-yard run by Scottre Humphrey to open the scrimmage, Mellott found receiver Lonyatte Alexander Jr. for 35 yards and tight end Rohan Jones on a 7-yarder to set up the touchdown.

“As the head coach you want the ebbs and flows, the back and forth, for our offense to show what they can do, to be mixed between run and pass, and that’s what happened on that first drive,” said Bobcat coach Brent Vigen. “It was finished with a really good play, an adjustment in the air from Tommy to Taco.”

Mellott finished the day 11-of-16 passing in the 100-play scrimmage for 133 yards and the touchdown while Dowler caught five passes for 73 yards, and Vigen lauded the two for adapting on the touchdown pass.

“It was a play where Tommy had to process some things,” Vigen said. “Taco wasn’t the primary (receiver) relative to that play call, but he got the ball where it needed to go relative to the defense called. That was a really good one. I thought Tommy continues to be very efficient. He’s showing big-play capability in the pass game. I know we didn’t connect on another one where he threw a beautiful ball down the field. Allowing him to make progress where it’s not about his ability to run the football is really what spring has been for him, and I really like the progress he’s making.”

Dowler missed much of last season, and his absence hindered MSU’s offense.

“Taco is a really good football player at the root of it,” Vigen said, “and not having him through a bulk of last season offensively hurt us. The obvious is the punt return game and what he brought there and will continue to bring there, but offensively he’s got feel. He’s a really explosive athlete, but he’s got really good feel at the same time, whether it’s downfield catching the ball or feeling out spaces between linebackers in zones, and the ability to hand him the ball time to time is a dimension we missed last year from time to time.”

The Bobcats pushed the ball across the goal line three times on Saturday. Jared White scored from 8 yards out, while quarterback Jordan Reed connected with Rohan Jones on a 22-yarder. Jones finished with five catches for 74 yards, while Reed completed 9 of 15 passes for a touchdown. He also threw an interception, the day’s only turnover, to Takhari Carr.

Defensively the Bobcats got contributions from young and old alike. All-America defensive end Brody Grebe logged a sack and two other tackles-for-loss, while redshirt freshman defensive tackle Hunter Sharbono also recorded a sack and two other tackles-for-loss.

“The young guys continue to impress,” Vigen said generally of the team’s second- and third-year players.

Montana State nears the end of spring drills, and Vigen said the flow of scrimmages benefits his squad.

“What happens in a scrimmage is it unveils a situational aspect of football that even though we try to replicate in practice some days it’s not the same sequencing,” he said. “To see how the guys respond to that, to see how they respond to the good and the bad that occurs, that’s all part of a scrimmage. We continue to see some guys stepping up. We’ve got some guys out there today that hadn’t been out there previously last week. I like the progress we’re making.”

MSU practices Tuesday and Thursday, and MSU’s Sonny Holland Spring Classic on Saturday, April 20, at 1 p.m. in Bobcat Stadium closes spring drills.

TOUCHDOWNS

Taco Dowler 22 yards from Tommy Mellott

Jared White 8 run

Rohan Jones 22 yards from Jordan Reed

RUSHING: Colson Coon 12-81-0, Adam Jones 7-48-0, Elijah Elliott 7-30-0, Jared White 9-30-1, Scottre Humphrey 2-10-0, Jordan Reed 3-27-0, Ty McCullouch 1-1-0, Tommy Mellott 1- -2-0, Patrick Duchien 2-1-0, Chance Wilson 1-17-0.

PASSING: Tommy Mellott 11-16-0, 133, 1; Jordan Reed 9-15-1, 111, 1; Patrick Duchien 3-6-0, 53, 0; Chance Wilson 3-5-0, 19, 0

RECEIVING: Rohan Jones 5-74-1, Taco Dowler 5-73-1, Jacob Trimble 3-10-0, Marqui Johnson 2-43-0, Lonyatte Alexander Jr. 2-42-0, Adam Jones 3-21-0, Christian Anaya 2-25-0, Colson Coon 1-9-0, Jared White 1-7-0, Ty McCullouch 1-10-0, MaxMurphy 1-13-0, Luke Smith 1-2-0.

SACKS: Brody Grebe 1, Hunter Sharbono 1, Hunter Parsons 1, Nicholas Korom 1, Cole Bullock 1, Dominic Solano 1.

OTHER TACKLES-FOR-LOSS: Hunter Sharbono 2, Brody Grebe 2, McCade O’Reilly 1, Alec Eckert 1, Talon Marsh 1

INTERCEPTION: Takhari Carr 1