Montana Griz Football Struggles Before Subduing Idaho State
With three key players injured and sitting out, and a fourth disqualified, the game progressed far from being a mismatch.
How big of an expected mismatch? The 35-point favorites' turnovers and the defense committing uncharacteristic major penalties caused a lot of problems, the off balance University of Montana Grizzlies struggled to get their opponent off the field during time-consuming possessions.
Of course, a game lasts longer than one quarter.
After spotting the Idaho State Bengals a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, the Griz started putting things together, scoring on quarterback Lucas Johnson's touchdown run, a Marcus Knight touchdown run and a Keelan White TD reception. In between, the defense started to dominate, allowing only one more field goal in the half, and taking a 21-6 lead into the locker room.
The multifaceted Grizzly offense dialed up a wide receiver (Mitch Roberts) to tight end (Cole Grossman) pass for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 28-6 in the third quarter, the cherry on top of a 95-yard drive.
From there the Montana offense became very stagnant, generating little or nothing on their next two possessions. But on the next possession, a 45-yard Marcus Knight run to the 5, and it looks like the Griz will be adding to their lead. Until...
A Lucas Johnson fumble gives the ball back to ISU. And the Bengals take advantage, stunning the Montana defense with a long touchdown pass to make it 28-13. Another big drive makes it 28-20 with 56 seconds to go.
While lackluster, the Griz did enough to escape with that 8-point victory.
Even the impressive Montana depth was tested, playing the game without starters Braxton Hill, Junior Bergen and Corbin Walker. Starting safety Trajon Cotton was disqualified for a targeting penalty, and starting offensive lineman Liam Brown left the game with an injury.
So as it turns out, it's the start of what appears to be a very timely bye week for the Griz, as they move to 5-0 on the season after a victory where very little came easy. A much more difficult second half of the season looms, starting with a home game against Idaho on October 15.
Rest and mend dudes. We look forward to a raucous and rowdy matchup with the Vandals in two weeks.
24 Missoula Businesses That Have Closed in the Last Two Years
Every Montana Restaurant That Has Been Featured on Food Network