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MSU-N Game Day: The swagger of a playmaker

Bruce Bumgardner is, simply put, one of the best WR to suit up for the Lights in quite some time

 

November 8, 2019

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern Bryce Bumgardner has been a huge asset to the Lights at wide receiver, including in 2018 when Bumgardner put up All-Conference type numbers, and, in turn, also helped the Lights become the dangerous passing team they are today. Bumgardner will play his final home game Saturday against Southern Oregon.

Football is full of excitement, and the game often finds talented players that light up their team, as well as the opposition. Some examples include quarterbacks that can sling a pass and lead offenses to high-caliber performances, running backs that break out into the open-field or truck down a defender, or the big offensive line that get to square off with another lineman so they can protect their quarterback.

But, there's a position that often catches the most attention, literall - the wide receiver. Being a wide receiver is something special to many and is a very versatile position to play, including Montana State University-Northern senior Bryce Bumgardner.

Receivers can be used as kick/punt returners and tight ends are often just the taller-version of the receiver. Receivers are used in many different play-calls, too. One can see them in a deep, shotgun, screen or slant-pass, to name a few. To be a receiver, one has to have multiple attributes. Many coaches will look for the guy with great hands, speed, jumping and rout-running knowledge. There is a lot to be said about receivers and being in the position gives one a great responsibility on the field.

When it comes to the Lights, the team has had a great performer on the field for quite some time. Bumgardner has been one of the Lights' best and is looking to go crazy in his last few games with Northern.

Bumgardner has been involved with the game since he was in third grade. From there, it has been quite the journey. Bumgardner would go on to have a very nice high school career and then be recruited by the Lights. The 6-2, 185-pound receiver has been a big help to the Northern offense, especially last fall when he burst onto the scene.

In that season, Bumgardner had 65 receptions for 871 yards, three touchdowns and his longest catch was 43 yards. His talent on the field definitely has made an impact on the offensive scheme for the Lights. This year, Bumgardner has 20 receptions for 183-yards and two touchdowns.

It is clear that Bumgardner has had the stuff to be a great receiver, but he has a different skill that helps make him good at his job.

"I think what makes me good is I don't feel like I can ever be truly beat, because I never give up," said Bumgardner. "I keep on playing and I won't let myself be beaten."

Not only does Bumgardner feel that that is what makes him great at his position, but for the entire wide-receiving core at Northern.

The Lights have one of the most productive WR groups in the Frontier Conference, and Bumgardner has certainly been a leader in the room.

"We all have the exact same attitude," continued Bumgardner. "We don't want to be beat. We're a bunch of guys that absolutely love each other and love to see each other compete and succeed. We always have a lot of good things to say about each other."

Another aspect that stands out for Bumgardner is his hands. He is the type of receiver that if one gets the ball to him, he will catch it. Bumgardner's will often work on catching in his practice, of course, and has become a reliable asset to the Lights offense because of it.

On top of that, Bumgardner's leadership is very complimentary to how he interacts with his teammates. He is the supportive and motivational-type of the leader. The one that will fire up the offense and get excited to play every game. A mindset like that is something admirable. After all, if one has a great player leading the charge, what can go wrong?

Bumgardner finds the position of receiver to be a fun one and has a favorite aspect about being a major offensive weapon on the field.

"I like the adrenaline rush of the game," said Bumgardner. "Getting hit or going up for a ball that's a tough catch, I just like the adrenaline rush of it all."

Catering to the adrenaline rush is a good thing in the receiver position. Receivers can be often put in compromising positions, especially when the go across the middle.

So to have a likeness for the adrenaline rush can help ease the pain of being potentially blasted on a play.

And the rush will be at another level Saturday for Bumgardner, as it will be his last home game of the season. Games like Saturday's senior day game can be very emotional and important to the entire team.

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Bryce Bumgardner hauls in a pass during a 2018 Frontier Conference game at Blue pony Stadium. Under touch circumstances, Bumgardner has quietly put together an outstanding career for the Lights, and he and his fellow seniors will be honored before Saturday's home finale against the Southern Oregon Raiders.

For Bumgardner, the nostalgia of his career at Northern will hit hard in that game.

"I'm really sad," said Bumgardner. "I'm going to miss the guys on the team. I mean, I do enjoy football, but one of the things you miss a lot is the people when you're away. You just miss hanging out with your buddies and seeing them every day, doing things with them. I'll miss the fans, playing in front of my friends and the entire experience, honestly. I'll miss the process and just being with everybody."

Not only does Bumgardner have the skills for the game, but he has the heart, too. The players that are missed the most are the ones that make the biggest impact on other's lives on and off the field. Bumgardner is one of those players. He is the guy you can trust to make a big play but help a brother out outside of the game.

Don't miss out on Bumgardner's last home game in his Northern career because the standout wide receiver will surely be putting his best on the field, along with the other seniors, against Southern Oregon University Saturday at 1 p.m. in Blue Pony Stadium.

 

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