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No. 13 Montana uses complete game to dominate Utah Tech on the road

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Posted at 6:36 PM, Sep 10, 2023

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Saturday's game in St. George, Utah was a big 43-13 win for the Montana Grizzlies over the Utah Tech Trailblazers as they dominated from start to finish in their first road game of the season to get off to a 2-0 start on the year.

"I thought it was good, guys did a nice job coming down here," said UM head coach Bobby Hauck after the game. "You know, go on the road in the heat, come down and kind of pretty much have a pretty dominating performance."

A dominating performance all around the field with 36 first half points, four turnovers, and even a punt return touchdown from Junior Bergen.

"(Until) late in the game, I thought we were pretty on it on all three phases," said Hauck. "Like the effort level, like the attention to detail, appreciate Utah Tech playing hard until the end which gave our guys that were in there a test, and it was a good football game for us."

A good football game for the Griz that was led under center by senior quarterback Clifton McDowell who got the start after coming off the bench in the team's week one opener. McDowell started over Sam Vidlak, who appeared in the game in the second half.

"Well, because we had planned to start him," said Hauck about the switch. "We've had a plan in place, and we had planned to start him in this game and I thought he did a good job."

It was another bulldozing performance on the ground for the Griz who recorded 262 rushing yards on the night led by Nick Ostmo’s 118, and with the heat, an offensive line that was constantly rotating players throughout the game, something that Ostmo doesn’t take much notice of.

"To be honest, I don't even know. I don't even really know who's in honestly, more worried about the play call and all that stuff, kind of nervous," said Ostmo with a laugh. "But yeah, it's good to have depth and those guys did great tonight and like I said before, they just knock people off the ball and open up holes for us."

One of those holes opened up on the biggest offensive play of the night for the Griz, Ostmo’s 46-yard touchdown scamper down the sidelines early in the second quarter to put the Griz up 22-0.

"At first I just saw our tight end Evan (Shafer) coming across the line and I was just like, I'm gonna follow him, he's a big dude," said Ostmo. "So, I followed him and then Sawyer (Racanelli) had a good block on the corner and then it was just green grass from there, so I just tried to scamper to the end zone."

 With 36 first-half points the Griz couldn’t have made a bigger statement in an unknown road environment.

"I mean, obviously, you saw the neighbors play them last week. I think everybody was kind of comparing us to them and trying to, you know, whatever," said cornerback Trevin Gradney, who had an interception and forced fumble in the game. "But yeah, we had a different mentality, playing a night game on the road, we knew that they were going to come out with some fiery things. And I think we did a good job in handling what they had and just trying to be us, trying to build our brand of football for sure."

As for what led to the dominant performance for the Griz, Hauck kept it short and sweet.

"Good game plan and good execution," he said.

With the big win in their first road game of the year, the Griz improve to 2-0 and now head home to Missoula to host the Ferris State Bulldogs Saturday.