MISSOULA — The key players and position grades from Montana's 47-27 win over Monmouth on Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
The Griz raced out to a 33-14 lead before seeing it trimmed to 33-27 with 11:32 to play. They scored two touchdowns and picked off two passes over the next four drives to score the game's final 14 points.
Montana players of the game
Offense: Marcus Knight. The 6-foot-1, 194-pound running back from San Juan Capistrano, California, ran for a career-high 148 yards with one score. His strong running down the stretch helped Montana score the final 14 points.
Defense: Dante Olson. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior linebacker from Medford, Oregon, tallied a game-high 13 tackles, six of which were solo. He found his way into the backfield to record 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Special teams: Malik Flowers. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore from Fontana, California, had his second career kickoff return touchdown when he ran one back for 100 yards, the longest in the modern history of Montana.
Dalton Sneed completed 30 of 40 passes for 334 yards with four touchdowns. He ran seven times for 21 yards and had a fumble that led to the score that cut Montana's lead to 33-27 in the fourth quarter. He had one interception on a pass that appeared to bounce around between the receiver and defender.
Running backs/Fullbacks: A-
Marcus Knight ran for a career-high 148 yards on 21 carries, a clip of 7 yards per rush. He scored one touchdown and had a long run of 31 yards in which he powered his way through defenders. Knight had one catch for 10 yards. True freshman running back Nick Ostmo ran 10 times for 47 yards.
Wide receivers/Tight ends: A-
Montana's tight ends highlighted the group as Colin Bingham and Bryson Deming totaled eight catches for 118 yards with four touchdowns. Receiver Mitch Roberts led all players with 80 receiving yards. Receivers Sammy Akem, Samori Toure and Jerry Louie-McGee had some drops. Toure threw a TD pass.
Offensive line: B+
The offensive line helped paved the way for 221 rushing yards on 40 carries. They allowed just one sack and three tackles for loss. That came with left guard Angel Villanueva missing some time after twice going down on the field and sophomore Dylan Cook making his first start at right tackle for UM.
Defensive line: B
The defensive line had success with slowing down the run but didn't get much of a pass rush, holding Pete Guerriero (131 yards per game) to 47 yards on 18 carries. Redshirt freshman Alex Gubner had one of the team's three sacks. Senior Vika Fa'atuiese added one of the Grizzlies' six tackles for loss.
The linebacker helped slow the run but didn't get to quarterback Kenji Bahar as much as the game progressed. Senior Dante Olson led all players with 13 tackles, and had 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Sophomore Patrick O'Connell added eight tackles and a sack. Ryder Rice 0.5 tackles for loss.
Defensive backs: C+
The secondary allowed Bahar to throw for 393 yards while he completed 68% (34 of 50) of his passes. They were largely left in one-on-one coverage as Montana brought blitzes and Monmouth opted to get rid of the ball quickly. Dareon Nash and Nash Fouch came up with INTs in the fourth quarter.
Special teams: A-
Malik Flowers ran back a kickoff for 100 yards, his second career score. When Monmouth kicked away from him, UM fielded the kicks cleanly. Wariness to punt to Louie-McGee gave Griz good field position. Sneed and Akem hooked up on a 2-pt play. Brandon Purdy missed two PATs. Bingham failed 2-pt run.