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Montana's Marcus Welnel, Brian Buschini named Big Sky players of the week

Marcus Welnel
Posted at 12:29 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 14:29:05-04

MISSOULA — Stand up, Helena Capital.

Montana linebacker Marcus Welnel and punter Brian Buschini both reeled in Big Sky Conference player of the week honors, the conference announced on Monday. Welnel was named the Defensive Player of the Week while Buschini earned co-Special Teams Player of the Week.

Welnel, who began starting in the spring after backing up Dante Olson in 2019, finished Montana's victory over Washington with 12 total tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. Welnel, a redshirt junior, added the game-sealing interception in the final seconds as Washington was attempting to make its way down the field one more time. The Grizzlies sent a shockwave through the college football world with a 13-7 victory over the Huskies, just the sixth time an FCS school defeated a ranked FBS opponent since 1983.

The defense as a whole held Washington to 291 yards total, including just 65 yards. Montana picked off Washington QB Dylan Morris three times -- the other two from Gavin Robertson -- and also racked up three sacks, with Patrick O'Connell getting Montana's remaining sacks.

Buschini, a redshirt freshman, punted the ball seven times for 329 yards, an average of 47 yards per punt. His long was 58 yards and he pinned UW inside its own 20 three times. Buschini shared the weekly award with UC Davis kicker Isaiah Gomez, who connected on four field goals in the Aggies' upset over Tulsa.

Both honors are a first for the pair of Capital High grads.

Montana jumped from No. 9 to No. 4 in the latest Stats Perform FCS Top 25. The Grizzlies welcome Western Illinois to Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.