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Grizzlies Dominate Stats to Beat South Dakota

Washington Grizzly
photo by Todd Goodrich

The University of Montana Grizzlies’ two senior running backs rushed for more than 100 yards each, as the 10th/11th-ranked host Grizzlies defeated the University of South Dakota Coyotes 35-24 in the season opener for the teams Saturday afternoon in front of 25,156 partisan fans in UM’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Dan Moore had career-highs of 27 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown, while fellow UM senior halfback Peter Nguyen had 10 totes for 192 yards and a score. The Grizzlies picked up a school-record 34 first downs in the win.

The Grizzlies (1-0) dominated the Coyotes in total yards (568 to 233) and first downs (34 to 9), but found themselves in an eight point (24-16) deficit mid-way through the third quarter.

Montana led 16-10 at halftime, but the Coyotes, coached by former (2000-02) Griz mentor Joe Glenn, scored back-to-back touchdowns in a little more than a minute to take a 24-16 lead at the 9:47 mark of the third stanza.

On its first play of the third period quarterback Josh Vander Maten hit fellow sophomore Terrance Terry for an 80-yard downtown bomb, giving USD a 17-16 edge. Just a few plays later safety Charlie Goro picked off a Trent McKinney pass and returned it 50 yards for another score to give the visitors the 24-16 advantage.

The Grizzlies quickly regained the momentum, though with a bit of trickery, as on the their next series senior tight end Greg Hardy connected with senior wide receiver Bryce Carver for a 39-yard touchdown, and UM cut the USD lead to 24-22 with 7:11 left in the third.

Two series after Hardy’s first career pass attempt and subsequent TD, the Grizzlies scored back-to-back touchdowns thanks to two straight USD turnovers.

The first USD mistake came when junior linebacker John Kanongata’a picked off a Vander Maten pass and the Griz took possession of the ball on the Coyotes’ 34-yard line. Two runs by Nguyen picked up 20 yards, and then after that Moore broke free for a 14-yard scoring jaunt, and Montana led 28-24 with 4:49 remaining in the third stanza and would lead the rest of the way.

The Griz added an insurance score when sophomore defensive end Tonga Takai recovered a Coyote fumble on the USD 13-yard line. Three plays later Nguyen scored on a 3-yard run with 3:25 left in the third, in what proved to be the final points of the game.

This report courtesy of University of Montana Sports Information.

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