Live coverage from Nottingham Field in Greeley, Colorado as the Grizzlies visit the University of Northern Colorado Bears.

Pregame

The No. 11 Griz face a new-look Northern Colorado at noon Saturday at Nottingham Field in Greeley, Colorado. The Bears are improving under first-year coach Ed McCaffrey and nearly upset league-leading Sacramento State last week, losing 27-24.

UM heads into the game at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big Sky, needing one win in their final three games to reach the seven-threshold for playoff qualification. UNC is 3-6, 2-4 but hasn't won more than three games since 2016.

Nick Ostmo not out here with the RBs during warmups. He played just five snaps last week in his first game of the year following a preseason injury. Six RBs dressed today: Xavier Harris, Isiah Childs, Junior Bergen, Colter Janacaro, Drew Turner and Ryan Arntson. Harris didn't play the past two games. Childs has just one rush in the past five games.

Montana senior right tackle Dylan Cook is in uniform but isn’t going through full pregame stretches. Freshman Brandon Casey replaced Cook for the final 15 snaps last week against Southern Utah.

Northern Colorado wins the coin toss and defers to the second half. Montana will receive the opening kickoff. First time this season that the Griz will have the ball first.

First quarter

Montana QB Cam Humphrey makes 1st start since Oct. 2. Played 3 drives last week. New-look OL: LT Conlan Beaver LG Hunter Mayginnes C Moses Mallory (normal RG; 1st start at C) RG Kordell Pillans (3rd career start; 1st since 10/26/19) RT Brandon Casey (freshman; 1st career start). True freshman Junior Bergen starting at RB for the third consecutive week. Humphrey escapes what looked to be a sure sack on third down and scrambles 14 yards for a first down to the UNC 39-yard line. His ankle must be feeling better.

Montana QB Cam Humphrey sacked twice in a stretch of three plays, taking the Griz out of field goal range. David Hoage and Eddie Gonzales with those sacks after the Griz got to the Northern Colorado 23-yard line. Brian Buschini punts just 21 yards to the UNC 17-yard line. 

Montana junior CB Justin Ford with another interception. That makes it seven (yes, 7) consecutive games with an interception. This one comes on a pass tipped by TraJon Cotton, returned 3 yards to the UM 26-yard line. Northern Colorado had gotten to the UM 46-yard line.

Montana true freshman RB Xavier Harris returns to the field for the first time since Oct. 16 against Sacramento State after being injured. He runs 3 times for 11 yards on his first drive. On third-and-7, Montana QB Cam Humphrey connects with TE Cole Grossman over the middle of the field, and Grossman hustles to turn in a 21-yard TD. Third consecutive games that Grossman has had a TD catch.

Through two drives, Montana QB Cam Humphrey is 9-of-12 passing for 103 yards, 1 TD and has connected with six different WRs/TEs/RBs. He gained 14 yards on 1 rush but has been sacked twice, resulting in a net of minus-1 yard rushing.

SCORE: Griz 7, Northern Colorado 0, with 4:53 left in the first quarter.

Montana junior nose tackle Eli Alford down on the field for a while and limps off with the help of two athletic trainers while trying to avoid putting pressure on his right leg. He has been rotating with sophomore Alex Gubner all season. Montana's David Koppang and Tyler Flink sniff out a fake punt and combine for an 8-yard tackle for loss. Griz take over at the Northern Colorado 30-yard line.

Montana QB Cam Humphrey escapes what looked like another sure sack and scrambles 20 yards for a touchdown. It's his first rushing TD since the go-ahead score at Washington.

SCORE: Griz 14, Northern Colorado 0, with 0:11 left in the first quarter.

End first quarter: Montana 14, Northern Colorado 0

Second quarter

Montana true freshman Aaron Fontes catches a punt in the end zone instead of letting it go for a touchback. He takes a big hit from Daego Albert, gets flipped over and UM will start its fourth drive backed up at the 4-yard line. Montana quickly gets out of the shadow of its own end zone as Junior Bergen rushes for 28 yards to the 32-yard line on the first play. Montana true freshman RB Isiah Childs is back on the field. He's had just one rush over the previous five games while dealing with an injury.

Montana punts, but at least it's not out of its own end zone. Junior Bergen had a big run to bail out Aaron Fontes for his freshman mistake of catching a punt in the end zone. Punter Brian Buschini flips the field, and Northern Colorado will start at its own 9-yard line.

Montana junior safety Robby Hauck nearly has an interception but he drops the ball. It looked like Northern Colorado QB Dylan McCaffrey was throwing that pass right to Hauck. Griz force a punt and will start at their own 35-yard line. Montana WR Sammy Akem drops a first-down pass on third down, and the Griz will punt for the third time in five drives. It's the first three-and-out by either team today.

True freshman Noah Kaschmitter in at nose tackle with Eli Alford having been banged up earlier. DeAri Todd at DE, and Levi Janacaro at LB. Northern Colorado lines up to go for it on 4-and-1 from its own 29-yard line but calls a timeout. The Bears end up punting the ball, and Montana will start at its own 38-yard line looking to build on a 14-0 lead with 3+ minutes left in the first half.

Montana true freshman RB Xavier Harris is down on the field. He walks off slowly with a slight limp. He's had 5 rushes for 15 yards today, his first action since Oct. 16 after an injury in the first half of that game. 

Montana QB Cam Humphrey targets WR Sammy Akem, who makes a catch with a defender in tight coverage and then fights through contact down the right side of the field for a 42-yard touchdown.

Montana senior WR Sammy Akem is now tied for the second-most TD catches in school history. He has 26, tied with Etu Molden (1999-2001), Mike Erhardt (1993-96) and Shalon Baker (1991-94). Marc Mariani holds the record with 29 from 2006-09.

SCORE: Griz 21, Northern Colorado 0, with 2:42 left in the second quarter.

Another special teams mistake by Aaron Fontes as he muffs a punt. Montana recovers at its own 31-yard line but ends up going three-and-out and punts.

HALF: Montana 21, Northern Colorado 0. The Griz have 269 yards (6.9 yards per play) and are holding the Bears to 98 yards (2.97 yards per play). Senior QB Cam Humphrey has TD passes to Cole Grossman and Sammy Akem, and he's run for a 20-yard score.

Third quarter

Montana's defense picks up where it left off, forcing a three-and-out to start the second half. Robby Hauck back for the puint, but he's hit right away. UM sticking with the same offensive line to start the second half. Cam Humphrey sacked for the fourth time today. That's tied for the most sacks allowed by the Griz this season. They gave up four against Dixie State and Sacramento State when Kris Brown was the QB.

Montana's defense has essentially forced four consecutive three-and-outs. Northern Colorado had a two-play drive in the past five drives, deciding to just go into halftime. Montana goes to Skyler Martin at right guard in place of Kordell Pillans on the second drive of the second half. Griz give up a fifth sack, a single-game high this season.

Montana QB Cam Humphrey with a clutch pass to Mitch Roberts for 22 yards on 3rd-and-14 down to the UNC 35-yard line. Five plays later, Humphrey hits WR Sammy Akem for a 17-yard TD. Akem is alone in second in school history with 27 TD catches.

SCORE: Griz 28, UNC 0, 6:12 left in the third quarter.

Montana nose tackle Alex Gubner forces a fumble of RB Gene Sledge, and linebacker Braxton Bill recovers the ball. Griz take over at the Northern Colorado 26-yard line. Griz up 28-0 with 6:06 to play. 

One play after QB Cam Humphrey scrambles for 21 yards, RB Isiah Childs power through a defender for a 2-yard TD run. First TD for Childs since Sept. 11 against Western Illinois.

SCORE: Griz 35, Northern Colorado 0, with 4:14 left in the third quarter.

Montana gives up a first down but forces a punt. Kris Brown now in at QB with a 35-0 lead and 16 minutes to play. Skyler Martin stays in at right guard.

End third quarter: Montana 35, Northern Colorado 0. The Griz are looking to pitch their first shutout since Oct. 8, 2011, at Idaho State, a 33-0 win.

Fourth quarter

Montana's shutout stays alive. Northern Colorado goes for it on fourth-and-5 from the UM 9-yard line. The pass is intended for Kassidy Woods in the end zone, with Justin Ford in coverage. The two former FBS players have been going back and forth all day. 9:42 to play.

Third-string QB Robbie Patterson now in at QB for Montana with a 35-0 lead and just over nine minutes to play.

Montana's shutout stays alive. Again. Ben Raybon's 44-yard field goal attempt is off center and short.

SCORE: Griz 35, Northern Colorado 0, with 0:29 to play.

FINAL: Montana 35, Northern Colorado 0

Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at frank.gogola@missoulian.com.

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