BOBCATS 150 – TOP 50: Delmar Jones



Bill Lambert

From reserve fullback to starting fullback, Delmar Jones helped spark the MSU National Championship in 1976

We take a look at the 25 players that Bobcat fans and a panel of longtime MSU football watchers ranked 26th through 50th in the quest to determine the program’s all-time players. In this segment of the countdown, players are listed in alphabetical order. You can find details here and a directory here.

Delmar Jones, AR, 1975-78

ALL-TIME TEAM: None before

HONORS: 1978 Honorable Mention All-America and 2nd Team All-Big Sky in 1978, 1st Team All-Big Sky in 1977, 2nd Team All-Big Sky Aft in 1976

TO LOOK CLOSER: Part of the natural evolution of a college football program is that the shine of stars from long ago begins to fade. The details of this splinter recede into the margins of the story, though the outline remains visible. That’s what makes a project like this fun.

And that’s what makes a player like Delmar Jones worth remembering.

Jones arrived at MSU in the fall of 1975 after two seasons as the state’s top running back, but a hand injury hampered his first season. The Bobcats lost big running back Steve Kracher until graduation, so the backfield was somewhat confused at the start of the 1976 season. Don Ueland and Mike Vidmar entered the season as quantities known in the backfield, but it was a pair of relative unknowns that went into overdrive this season. Tom Kostrba began winning runs at tailback, and after the team’s September 25 loss to Fresno State, Delmar Jones became the starting fullback.

The results were stunning. The Bobcats have rushed for 287 yards per game, the best in the nation. Jones gained 595 yards, 6.3 yards per carry from the back position which remains amazing. With Kostrba, Ueland and gritty quarterback Paul Dennehy running behind blocking Jones, Montana State reached the program’s fourth and most recent undefeated season in the Big Sky game and won the division’s national championship. II from the NCAA in 1976.

It turned out that was just the beginning. After gaining 595 yards in the 1976 regular season, Jones rushed for 1,050 as a junior — earning All-Big Sky 1st Team honors — and 1,172 more as a senior. He was named 2nd team All-Big Sky to close out his career, also earning honorable mention All-America status that season.

Jones said goodbye to his time in the Blue and Gold as the program’s third-leading all-time rusher (2,819 regular-season yards). Despite all the honors and records, however, Jones’ legacy was secured in 1976, when he rose from reserve fullback to starting fullback and helped propel the Cats to the national championship.

FROM BOBCAT HEAD COACH SONNY HOLLAND: “When Delmar Jones moved to full-back (early 1976) our attack really started to work.”

FROM LEGENDARY BOBCAT ATHLETIC TRAINER CHUCK KARNOP: “For a bunch of reasons, Delmar deserves a place in Bobcat history. They talk about (Mark) McGrath thinking he needed the ball every play, Delmar wanted the ball. He blocked really well, but that was not what he wanted to do.

“(When Jones moved to full-back in 1976) it was like night and day. It was a big step to get Delmar away from I-back. I think you’re trying to have your best athletes on the field and they asked him if he had (passed to the back), and he said, Sure.

“He was very quick, probably ran with a short stride, had a lot of movement, he was a peppy guy. You see Delmar a lot around (the program), and I thought he was a great guy. He I was maybe a little cocky, but I really, really liked this guy. He was very interesting to talk to. He’s just a really good person.


Comments are closed.