Following are game notes for the University of Montana football team’s season-opening game at the University of Wyoming. The Grizzlies take on the Cowboys Saturday afternoon. Click below for a PDF of the media game notes.
THE GAME: The University of Montana Grizzlies (0-0) open their 2014 season, Saturday, Aug., 30, playing the University of Wyoming Cowboys (0-0) in Laramie. Kickoff in Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium (29,181) is 2 p.m.
SERIES/LAST MEETING: Wyoming leads the series 13-0. The last meeting was Oct. 4, 1997, a 28-13 Cowboy victory in Laramie. (More on the 1997 game on add 13 of release).
GRIZ RADIO: Veteran Mick Holien begins his 22nd season calling the play-by-play as the “Voice of the Grizzlies.” Scott Gurnsey starts his 17th year serving as the in-booth analyst, while Greg Sundberg will be the sideline reporter and is in his fourth season.
ROOT SPORTS: The Grizzly-Cowboys game will be televised on ROOT SPORTS. Ari Wolfe calls the play-by-play, Sed Bonner is the color analyst, and Marc Stout serves as the sideline reporter. The game can be seen on Direct TV channels 687 (ROOT Sports Northwest) and 683 (ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain), and Dish channels 426 (ROOT Sports Northwest) and 414 ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). For cable channels please check local listings.
12 STARTERS BACK: Montana returns 12 starters, 5 on offense, 5 on defense, and its punter and kicker. Offensive starters back are wide receivers Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson, running back Jordan Canada, quarterback Jordan Johnson, and fullback Jamal Wilson. Starters back on defense are ends Tyrone Holmes and Zack Wagenmann, tackle Tonga Takai, cornerback Nate Harris, and free safety Matt Hermanson. Junior kicker Chris Lider (a 2012 starter) and punter Stephen Shaw also return. Cornerback Joshua Dennard (five), center Logan Hines (three), and tight end Mitch Saylor (nine) have also started in their careers.
10 FIRST TIME STARTERS: The Grizzlies will have 10 players making their first-ever starts at Wyoming, with five on both offense and defense. Those players on defense are tackle Trevor Rehm, linebackers Herbert Gamboa, Jeremiah Kose, and Kendrick Van Ackeren, and strong safety Justin Whitted. First timers on offense are tackles Devon Dietrich and Jackson Thiebes, guards Jordan Hines and Ben Weyer, and tight end Mike Ralston.
CANADA/JOHNSON/HENDERSON IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Canada’s 2,228 career rushing yards ties him for fourth on the career list with Rocky Klever ( 2,228, 1977-81). He is fourth with 29 career scoring runs. Johnson is ninth in career passing yards with 5,831, and fifth in career passing touchdowns with 53. Henderson’s 16 career receiving touchdowns rank him 13th in school history.
JOHNSON ON PAYTON AWARD WATCH LIST: Johnson, a 6-1, 195-pound senior from Eugene, Ore., was named to the Walter Payton Award watch list this season.
WAGENMANN ON BUCHANAN AWARD WATCH LIST: Wagenmann, a 6-3 1/2, 255-pound senior defensive end from local Sentinel High School, is on the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award. He had 16.5 stops for loss a year ago, along with 64 total tackles.
WINNING WAYS: Montana’s overtime win at Sacramento State on Nov. 2, 2013, was its 27th winning season in the past 28 years (since 1986). The Griz were 10-3 overall last season and finished 6-2 (third) in the Big Sky Conference.
GRIZ RANKED EIGHTH IN BOTH FINAL POLLS: Montana was ranked eighth in the nation in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches final polls of the season. UM made its 21st appearance in the national playoffs in the 2013 season — the most in division history. The Griz have been in the playoffs 18 of the past 21 seasons.
12 IN NFL CAMPS: The Griz have 12 former players who are currently in NFL Camps, including rookies Coyle (Seahawks), Kistler Jr. (Raiders), Tripp (Dolphins), and offensive lineman William Pohels (Titans). (Complete list on add 12 of release).