Home FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week: Week 1, 2021 — Montana

FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week: Week 1, 2021 — Montana

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of Montana athletics

Not once last season did the Fifth Quarter Team of the Week honor go to an FCS team. To kick off the 2021 campaign, it’s not happened twice in two weeks.

This week’s honor goes to Montana. The Grizzlies did the unthinkable on Saturday when they went into Seattle and stunned No. 20 Washington, 13-7.

Montana Rallies

Entering the final quarter, Montana was on the short end of a 7-3 score. Less than five minutes in however, Camron Humphrey capped a 10-play, 69-yard, 5-minute drive with a 4-yard touchdown.

After forcing a 3-and-out on the next drive, the Grizzlies put together another time-consuming march. The Grizzlies were able to melt more than six minutes off the clock before cashing in on a short field goal from Kevin Macias.

Washington would get two more possessions, but the first ended on a turnover on downs. After Macias missed a long field goal that would have made it a 2-score game, Marcus Welnel put the game away with an interception.

Defense Dominates

For Montana, the story of the night was defense. The Grizzlies held Washington to less than 300 total yards while forcing three turnovers.

Washington’s lone score came on its opening drive as quarterback Dylan Morris found the end zone from a yard out. That would be one of the few highlights for Morris, who was intercepted three times.

The first two picks belonged to Gavin Robertson. Welnel capped a monster night with the game-sealing pick. Welnel recorded a team-high 12 tackles and a sack. Patrick O’Connell tallied 10 tackles, three for loss and two sacks for the Montana defense.

The Power of the Grizz

The victory for the Grizzlies was the first for an FCS team over a ranked FBS team since 2016 when North Dakota State went into Iowa City and knocked off No. 13 Iowa. Montana was joined by UC Davis, Eastern Washington, South Dakota State, Holy Cross and East Tennessee State as FCS teams to knock off FBS opponents.

For Montana, the win was its first over an FBS school since topping Idaho in 2003. The Grizzlies, known as an FCS power out of the Big Sky, were playing just their third game since the start of the 2020 calendar year.

Due to COVID-19 cancellations, the Grizzlies played just two games last season and collected blowout wins over Central Washington and Portland State. In their last three games — all victories — they have allowed just 17 total points.

Up Next

Now 1-0 for the seventh straight season, Montana will begin its FCS slate on Saturday. The Grizzlies take on Western Illinois in their home opener.
Western Illinois opened the season with a 31-21 loss to Ball State. The contest will air locally in Montana and on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.

Washington will look for its first win on Saturday as it travels to face Michigan. That contest begins at 8 p.m. ET and airs on ABC.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.