Following is a look back at last week and a look ahead to this week for the University of Montana football team by the UM Sports Information Department.
THE GAME: The 12th/14th-ranked University of Montana Grizzlies (1-1) are back home this Saturday, Sept. 15, hosting the Liberty Flames (0-2) in UM’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium (25,217), with kickoff slated for 1:30 p.m. (Mtn.).
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND: Prior to Saturday’s game several players and coaches from Montana’s 2001 national championship football team will be introduced. The Grizzlies defeated Furman 13-6 in the Division I-AA title game90y8j that season. The UM squad won a school-record 15 games en route to a 15-1 record, and will be inducted into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 14 in a banquet at the Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park.
GRIZ RADIO: Veteran Mick Holien calls the play-by-play for Griz football for the 20th season in a row. Former Griz (1991-94) wide receiver Scott Gurnsey and Greg Sundberg provide in-booth color. UM’s flagship station is KGVO Radio, 1290 AM/KVWE 101.5 FM.
TV: The UM-LU game will be televised on Altitude Sports (DirecTV Channel 681, Dish Network Channel 410, or local cable provider (i.e. Optimum). Please check you local stations. Announcers: Mike Tilley (play-by-play), Ray Jones (color), and Mark Edwards (sideline).
FIRST MEETING: This will be the first game between the Griz and the Flames.
GRIZ LAST WEEK (At Appalachian State, 35, Montana 27): Quarterback Jamal Jackson threw two touchdown passes and running back Steven Miller rushed for two scores as the 11th-ranked Mountaineers held off the Grizzlies.
Montana had its biggest play of the young season with 8:54 left to play, as senior running back Dan Moore caught a screen pass from redshirt freshman Trent McKinney, and Moore broke free for an 87-yard touchdown – tying the school record for the fifth longest scoring reception, and cutting the ASU lead to 28-27. Redshirt freshman kicker Chris Lider missed the ensuing PAT, and the Mountaineers led by one point.
ASU tacked on a security TD with 5:05 remaining on a 2-yard touchdown run by Miller. Despite four turnovers, the Griz had a chance to tie the game on their last series. They advanced the ball to the ASU 42-yard line in the final 2-plus minutes of the game, but McKinney was picked off and the Mountaineers secured the win.
McKinney was 15-of-29 for a career-high 307 yards and 3 TDs, but he was picked off three times. Wide receiver Sam Gratton had 3 receptions for 104, and one score – all in the first half. Moore rushed 15 times for 93 yards and had 3 catches for a career-high 145 yards, while McKinney gained 68 yards on 13 totes. The Griz defense was led by free safety Matt Hermanson with 12 tackles, while linebacker John Kanongata’a added 10 stops.
Jackson was 24-of-34-0 for 260 yards and 2 TDs. Miller rushed 27 times for 91 yards. (Game stats and story on add 12 of this release).
10 FIRST-TIME STARTERS: Montana had 10 players have their first start against South Dakota on Sept. 1. OFFENSE: sophomore Mitch Saylor at wide receiver, sophomore tackle Trevor Poole, senior guard Jake Hendrickson, and McKinney. DEFENSE: senior end Josh Harris, junior defensive tackle Alex Bienemann, sophomore tackle Tonga Takai, sophomore end Zach Wagenmann, sophomore cornerback Josh Dennard, and junior cornerback Sean Murray.
7 STARTERS/33 LETTERMEN BACK: The Grizzlies return just seven starters and 33 lettermen from a senior-laden team that posted an overall mark of 11-3, won the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship (7-1), and advanced to the FCS semifinals.
WINNING TRADITION: Last year the Grizzlies won (or shared) their 16th Big Sky Conference championship in the past 19 years. The 2011 season was also the 18th time in the last 19 years that Montana has participated in the national playoffs. Montana has had 26 winning seasons in a row, dating back to 1986.
Click below for more notes on Saturday’s game.