5 Takeaways From Montana’s Beatdown of Northern Colorado
It turned out to be a relatively beautiful Saturday afternoon at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Temps hovered in the low 30's, sunshine covered most of the stadium and the Griz, after a sluggish start, steamrolled Northern Colorado (0-8) 40-0.
After their biggest win differential of the year, Montana is now 7-1 (4-1), tied atop the Big Sky Conference (w/Idaho and Montana State) and controls its own destiny.
Here are my 5 takeaways from the Griz' 7th win of the year.
1) There's a new Griz Quarterback in town
Do you remember Griz great Brian Ah Yat? Of course you do! Brian is one of the greatest quarterbacks in Griz history. The Hawai'i native is second all-time in passing touchdowns and passing yards.
Now, his son is slinging touchdowns for the Griz. Keali'i Ah Yat made his Griz debut Saturday going 9-13 for 89 yards and his first career touchdown pass. It's just one game but Ah Yat looked the part. He maneuvered the pocket well, made some plays with his legs and was accurate. Pretty good for a 19-year-old making his first-ever appearance in a Griz uniform.
McDowell will continue to start and see a bulk of snaps but don't be surprised if we see more and more of Ah Yat. Since Saturday was his first game, Ah Yat could play each game the rest of the way and still qualify for a redshirt season.
2) Dominant Montana defense
Northern Colorado had no answers offensively. The Bears were blanked for the second straight time against Montana and were outscored by the Griz defense. Safety Jaxon Lee and Linebacker Braxton Hill each returned an interception for a score. UM Defense 12, UNC 0. The most absurd stat of them all was the Griz defense held UNC to under 100 total yards. Griz running back Eli Gillman finished with more rushing yards than the Bears produced as an offensive unit.
3) Dominant day for Griz DE Kale Edwards
The Griz defensive front ate up the Bears offensive line. I mean, it was so bad that UNC's quarterbacks at one point frequently started heaving up go routes because they couldn't set anything up offensively. The Griz racked up 6 more sacks, making it 12.5 over the last two games. Griz Defensive End Kale Edwards had just one of those sacks, but he decimated the offensive line all afternoon. He won't get a ton of love in the box score but he was stout. Shoutout Kale Edwards.
4) Shoutout to Griz WR Sawyer Racanelli
The former Washington Husky Sawyer Racanelli was looking down the barrel of a strenuous rehab following a devastating knee injury. I don't know if Saturday was a culmination of the journey, but it was a monumental day as Racanelli hauled in his first collegiate touchdown in the 4th quarter from Clifton McDowell. The team was ecstatic for him. It seemed like every player on offense congratulated Racanelli after the score. A true feel-good moment.
5) The worst part? The Kicking game...
Redshirt Freshman kicker Grant Glasgow was phenomenal three weeks ago in Moscow nailing all of his kicks. Saturday was a different story. The Kansas native went 0-2, with 1 blocked, and drilled a kickoff out of bounds. Glasgow was replaced on the extra point unit by last year's kicker Nico Ramos who went 4-5 on PAT's. It will be interesting to see how special teams guru Bobby Hauck handles the scenario moving forward.
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Gallery Credit: Will Gordon