Defense will have to be the name of the game for the University of Northern Colorado this weekend, as the No. 2 Bobcats boast junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee, who can run and throw with the best of them, as well as wide receiver Tanner Bleskin, who averages more than 100 yards per contest.
UNC head coach Earnest Collins Jr. said he knows Saturday’s showdown will be tough, but the team will be ready to perform.
“You don’t have to say anything to get guys pumped up to play football,” Collins said. “They know the deal. It’s not like you go into an office and sit behind a cubicle. You’re going to play football, and if you don’t get pumped up on game day, you shouldn’t be playing this sport.”
Senior defensive back Marcel Gibbons said his experience playing McGhee the past two seasons will help him on Saturday.
“He has a cannon on him, and he knows how to move,” Gibbons said. “But I’ve played against him two times in the past, and we’ve bottled him up and played really close games against him. You hit him once, or a couple of times, and someone’s not as comfortable as they usually are.”
Gibbons was also quick to give the rest of his defense credit, saying the Bears are much improved on that side of the football this season.
“With our linebackers we have this year, it’s been very hard to run the ball against us,” Gibbons said. “Our pass rushers, they’re athletic and they know what they’re doing. They’re smart. It compliments us and makes us more comfortable in the secondary. (We) just stay over top and let the front seven do their business.”
Junior linebacker Clarence Bumpas echoed those sentiments, saying if the defense can stay focused, a win will be inevitable.
“It’s all about focus,” Bumpas said. “We had a couple of missed opportunities (against Sacramento State), and basically what we have to do is, we have to focus on causing turnovers. If we can cause turnovers on this team, there’s no reason we shouldn’t come out on top. If we stay focused, cause turnovers, pick up the ball and catch those missed opportunities, no one can deny us.”
UNC and the Bobcats kick off at 2:05 p.m. Saturday in Bozeman, Mont.
Bumpas also said that any team is vulnerable, and the Bears wants to show that during the game.
“They’re definitely one of the most solid teams we’ll face this season,” Bumpas said. “However, everybody can fall at any given time, at any flip of the coin. You heard about David and Goliath? We’re David, and we’re shooting.”