Griz punt fake was well timed
Sept. 6 – The Montana Grizzlies offense fumbled a bit in the first quarter of what turned out to be a 35-20 win over Butler on Saturday, as it built a 10-0 lead leading to a tip-drill interception and a pound
Add in a clock that wasn’t working at Washington-Grizzly stadium — the officials on the field were told to hold up the second quarter — and there was added frustration.
Then came the moment when it was fourth and 2 for the Griz, at their own 32.
That’s when the left punt defender, Havre’s Kellen Detrick, made a straight catch around the right sideline for a 19-yard gain. The play didn’t lead to a touchdown — Grant Glasnow missed a 49-yard field goal — but it seemed to allow the offense to find its footing.
“It was so weird because the clock wasn’t working. I didn’t realize it was fourth,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. “I thought it was third. They said, ‘Hey, it’s fourth,’ so I ran down there, and (the foul call) I got on late, I think we put it in with one second on the game clock.
“But that’s what I felt – it’s something we want to do. We want to have fun offensive stuff. These guys are reliable, they got their blocks, and they got checked on the right side. We took ours and got the numbers we wanted. So it was easy, and it was a big plus, obviously.”
And by the time Glasgow’s field goal sailed through the goalposts, the clocks were back on. It was 9:43 of the second quarter, and Montana led 13-3.
The victory was secured by a pair of late scoring drives led by No. 2 quarterback Clifton McDowell, who ran mostly (11 times for 81 yards) while starter Sam Vidlak passed. mostly (25 times for 180). McDowell stands 6-foot-4 but was tough and elusive.
“We didn’t react very well,” Butler coach Mike Erumovich quipped. “He’s a good player, he definitely made us lose possessions. Give him credit, too, because he’s a good player and they’re a good offensive line. But I wasn’t happy with the way we handled it.”
Erumovich was mostly happy with quarterback Bret Bushka, who seemed more confident the more he threw off his back foot – and he threw off his back foot a lot. The only time he was pressed into a high throw, the Bulldogs’ William Enneking made a spectacular one-handed catch.
“A big throw and a big catch will beat a big defense every time,” Hauck said. “But they made some circus catches.”
Anyone with one or more social media accounts has seen the game play from Montana State’s 63-20 win over Utah Tech in its season opener: Jared White’s 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The run was amazing, but it’s just as fun to watch the man who gave him the ball: No. 10, Sean Chambers. The Bobcats’ No. 2 quarterback made three blocks, and they were convincing.
“He was able to sack three guys,” MSU coach Brent Vigen said. “Probably my favorite one time Jared scored, the excitement Sean showed him on that play. This is the quarterback of the get a bunch of reps in this particular game, but it’s a team team.
“I know he can make an impact in many ways, which just happened to be one of the first times he was blocking. “
With the Trailblazers – more on them later – out how the Cats could focus on South Dakota State. A showdown between the No. 1 Jackrabbits and No. 3 Bobcats begins in Brookings, South Dakota on Saturday at 5 p.m.
It was a rematch of last week’s FCS semifinal, an ice bowl in Brookings that SDSU won 39-18.
“That game left its mark on us last December,” said Vigen on Monday, in his weekly press conference. “At the same time I think we see in ourselves the same kind of ability. We knew walking off the field in December that we would have a different view of them.”
Noting that last year’s semifinal was a rematch of the 2021 semifinal that MSU won 31-17, he said: “We’ve got to have some confidence as well. It wasn’t too long ago that we beat them.
That 2021 game was in Bozeman. This one will be on the road, albeit in much better field conditions: The early forecast calls for a high of 76 with a good chance of showers on Saturday.
Utah Tech’s loss in Bozeman dropped the former Dixie State Rebels to 0-13 against Big Sky Conference opponents, and 0-3 against MSU.
Now the Trailblazers – the nickname has changed twice, and the school took Utah Tech as its name this year, and if you’re wondering why, well, there’s a Wikipedia page – another Big Sky squad plays in the Grizzlies. Kickoff is at 7pm on Saturday in St. George.
Hauck counts maybe two Griz on his team when Montana beat the Trailblazers 31-14 in 2021, Utah Tech’s first year in Division I.
If that first advantage has been elusive, that has also gotten people to St. This will mark Utah Tech’s fourth home game against Big Sky competition; the Trailblazers will live up to their name by traveling more than 15,000 miles for seven road games this season – including a game at Northern Arizona next week.
QUICK KICKS: Estimate calls for a high of 98 Saturday in St. … Utah Tech QB Kobe Tracy has 3,180 career passing yards, and sits 44 yards off the No. 2 in school history. He also splits snaps with Boone Abbott. … Idaho’s Hayden Hawkins, Cal Poly’s Eli Ponder and Weber State kick returner Abraham Williams were the Big Sky players of the week for offense, defense and special teams. … MSU named RB Scottre Humphrey on offense. … Montana named RB Eli Gillman on offense, S Ryder Meyer on defense and Glasgow on special teams.