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.
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