Montana Beats UND in Big Sky Football PreviewReynolds' 3 TD Lead Grizzlies to 27-17 Win
By: Christy Kramer, UND
MISSOULA, Mont. – Every down, every play, every minute, every second, it was a hard-fought game through-and-through by both sides, but no matter how had it fought, North Dakota couldn’t hold off 13th-ranked Montana. In front of 24,151 fans at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, the Fighting Sioux fell to the Grizzlies 27-17.
It was a historic game for UND (3-7, 0-4 Great West) as the team not only played the 1000th game in school history, but in playing Montana (7-3, 5-2 Big Sky), it also got a glimpse of its future in the Big Sky Conference.
The Griz were led by Chase Reynolds, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer with three touchdowns on the day. Reynolds finished with 173 yards on 27 carries, including a 51-yard run in the third quarter.
Montana quarterback Justin Roper went 14-for-22 for 231 yards. His lone touchdown pass of the game was a 58-yard toss to Antwon Moutra in the opening quarter. Moutra finished with 100 yards on three receptions.
Offense was a struggle for the Sioux, who despite just 66 offensive yards in the first half, finished the game with 209 yards of total offense.
Sophomore Mitch Sutton (RB, Plover, Wis.) led the way for UND with 76 yards on 12 carries, including two that took him into the end zone. In the first half, he scored on a one-yard play and in the second half, he notched a career-best 50-yard TD run.
Fellow running back Josh Murray (Jr., Pepin, Wis.) finished with 51 all-purpose yards (23 rushing, 24 receiving).
Both Marcus Hendrickson (So., Perham, Minn.) and Brent Goska (Jr., Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) saw time at quarterback, but neither was able to come up with the big passing plays that the Sioux saw early in the season by Jake Landry (Sr., Grand Forks, N.D.). Hendrickson went 6-for-23 for 29 yards and Goska was 3-for-7 for 27 yards.
With the offense struggling, it was the Sioux defense that stepped up and kept UND in the game. Senior defensive lineman Ty Boyle (International Falls, Minn.) doubled his previous career-best with 10 tackles (three unassisted). He also nabbed his first career interception inside the first half.
Redshirt freshman Chavon Mackey (Jacksonville, Fla.) came away with seven tackles and one pass breakup.
The UND special teams were also impressive as junior Dominique Hawkins (CB, Plymouth, Minn.) finished with 181 yards on four kick returns. Ninety-nine of those yards came on a single play as Hawkins nearly ran the ball the length of the field. Punter Brett Cameron (So., Winnipeg, Manitoba) logged 458 yards on 12 punts for an average 38.2 yards per punt. He booted one for 55 yards and landed seven inside the 20-yard line.
The game nearly went 15 scoreless minutes, but with a 58-yard pass from Justin Roper to Antwon Moutra, Montana capped off a five-play, 77-yard drive with its longest pass of the first half.
Inside the 13-minute mark, the Griz used a UND turnover to put an extension on their lead. Brandon Dawson recovered the fumble for Montana on the UND24 and returned it nine yards to the 15. With a nine- and a 12-yard rush by Chase Reynolds, UM took a 13-0 lead.
The Griz took a chance at making it 15-0, but just outside the end zone, Kris Ankenbauer (Sr., Murphy, Texas) flew in from the side and knocked the ball right out of Brody McKnight’s hands.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior Dominique Hawkins (CB, Plymouth, Minn.) boasted the first of UND’s big second quarter plays. After picking up McKnight’s 70-yard kickoff inside the end zone, Hawkins found the gap he needed and broke free from the pack. He nearly crossed into the end zone, but trying to dodge a tackle, he stepped out of bounds at the one-yard line.
On the next play, Marcus Hendrickson (So., Perham, Minn.) handed off to Mitch Sutton (So., Plover, Wis.) for the one-yard touchdown play. With the PAT from Zeb Miller (RFr., Ankeny, Iowa), it was Montana 13, UND 7 with 12:03 left in the half.
After being forced to a pair of three-and-outs, North Dakota failed to cap a six-play drive with a field goal. Miller’s 48-yard attempt sailed wide right to give the Griz possession at their own 28-yard line.
On the next play, Roper tossed a pass towards the far sideline, but the ball was tipped by UND’s 6-4 defensive lineman Ty Boyle. The International Falls, Minn., native snatched the ball out of the air and returned it 21 yards to the Montana 28-yard line for his first career interception.
With the time ticking down and UND unable to move the ball past the seven-yard line, Miller stepped in to make the 29-yard field goal and send the game into the half with UND trailing 13-10.
Four minutes into the new half and with much help from Sutton, the Sioux used just three plays and took just 1:35 off of the clock to move the ball 59 yards to the end zone. After an eight- and a one-yard run under his belt, Sutton found a hole and out-ran the defense for a career-long 50-yard touchdown run.
Sutton’s second touchdown of the game and his second of the season gave the Sioux a 17-13 lead, its first lead over a ranked opponent since it defeated No. 18/16 Cal Poly 38-21 last season in Grand Forks.
Montana returned the favor on the ensuing drive as Reynolds capped a three-play drive with a 14-yard scoring run.
The Fighting Sioux defense kept the pressure on the Grizzlies well into the fourth quarter, but with 5:21 remaining in the game, Reynolds reached the end zone for the third time. Following a 55-yard pass from Roper to Jabin Sambrano, Reynolds rushed for eight yards, and then hit the end zone on a four-yard run.
North Dakota with close the 2010 football schedule next weekend as it travels south down I-90 to take on South Dakota State. Kickoff between the Fighting Sioux and the Jackrabbits is slated for 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Today’s game against Montana marks the 1,000th football game in North Dakota history ... All-time, the Fighting Sioux are 605-365-30 (.605) on the gridiron ... Today’s captains: Jake Landry, Ryan Kasowski, Curtis Dublanko, and Kris Ankenbauer ... All-time against Montana, UND trails 7-11-1 overall, 3-4-1 in Grand Forks, N.D., and 4-7-0 in Montana. This marks the first time in over 20 years that North Dakota and Montana have met on the gridiron. In their last meeting on Sept. 15, 1973, the Fighting Sioux triumphed with a 31-10 win over the Grizzlies at Memorial Stadium ... When playing on Nov. 13, the Fighting Sioux are 4-3-3 overall, 1-0-1 at home, and 3-3-2 on the road. The last time the Fighting Sioux played on Nov. 13 was in 2004 when it defeated St. Cloud State 20-17 in overtime during the first round of the NCAA DII playoffs ... With the loss to Montana (Nov. 13), head coach Chris Mussman’s career record shifted to 15-16 (.484), his conference record remained at 3-8 (.273), and his record against non-conference moved to 12-8 (.600).