The Montana Grizzlies celebrated Homecoming on Saturday, October 5, with a 55-27 win over the Portland State Vikings.

The Grizzlies, now 4-1 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky Conference play, turned the Vikings own strengths against them by rushing for 378 yards, while holding the potent Viking running game to only 115 total yards, including only 78 yards for running back D.J. Adams, who had been averaging well over 100 yards per game.

Photo by Peter Christian

Montana head coach Mick Delaney broke the game down into five areas in the post-game press conference.

"This game isn't as difficult as everybody makes it," Delaney said. "You go in and you say we have to run the ball and we have to stop the run, we can't have penalties, we can't have turnovers and we have to create turnovers. There's five things, and if we do them we've got a chance to be successful. Last week against Northern Arizona we didn't do them, but this week we did."

Delaney remarked on the number of personal fouls called against the Vikings, who had 12 total penalties for a total of 108 yards. The Grizzlies were penalized only three times for a total of 15 yards.

"We've got a disciplined football team," Delaney said. "I think Portland State ended up with eight or nine personal foul penalties, and that's scary. If it's us, it's really scary."

MIck Delaney on game plan

Saturday was a career day for senior tight-end Clay Pierson, who hauled in three touchdown passes from quarterback Jordan Johnson. Pierson suffered a hand injury in the Appalachian State game, and has not been able to play until scoring his first touchdown last week against Northern Arizona. Delaney said Pierson richly deserved his moment in the sun.

"That's what football's all about,' Delaney said. "When you see a guy like him, who never says anything, always has patience, does everything you always ask him to do. He's rather be out in the woods with his dog and his rifle than ever be interviewed on TV. To have a day like that is really rewarding to him for all the work he's put in."

Mick Delaney on Clay Pierson

On defense, senior corner back Anthony 'Chief" Goodwin hauled in two interceptions, one a leaping one-handed circus catch at the start of the second half, along with seven pass break-ups.

Quarterback Jordan Johnson was 12-24 for 203 yards and again, no interceptions.

Two running backs broke the century mark, with Travon Van leading the way with 136 yards on 14 carries, while Jordan Canada was right behind with 102 yards on 13 carries. Fullback Joey Counts added another 80 yards, while quarterback Jordan Johnson scampered for 32 yards on three carries.

Portland State left the 25,605 fans in Washington Grizzly stadium with a record of 3-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

Up next for the Grizzlies, a road game to UC-Davis, a team that sports a 2-0 record in Big Sky Conference play, with a 5 p.m. Mountain time kick-off.

Photo by Peter Christian