Griz defense sets tone in annual spring game

Griz defense shines in spring game (4-12-14)

MISSOULA, Mont. - It was a chilly evening inside Washington Grizzly Stadium Saturday with wind chill in the low teens for Montana's annual spring game and the defense certainly took advantage of the offense's inability to get a hot start.

The maroon squad (defense) dominated the temp especially early in the contest and came away with the 24-6 victory over the white squad (offense) as the scrimmage features a scoring system formatted to give both sides of the ball opportunities to put points on the board in several different ways.

"We've had a lot of new guys coming in and especially at linebacker and safety and corner and so you know everybody is getting better every practice and it's really showing out here," said junior linebacker Kendrick Van Ackeren who tied for the team lead in tackles with four stops. "Today we played like we been playing all spring which is what we want to come and do."

The defense registered seven tackles for loss, along with five pass break-ups, a pair of forced fumbles, and two sacks.  The defense also made two tackles in the end zone for safeties although both of those offensive series had the tough task of starting at their own one yard line.

"Well our defense is great," said sophomore receiver Ryan Burke after the scrimmage.  "I'm not going to lie it kind of sucks going against them every day. They are physical and strong and when you show up after practice you're sore a little bit.  But obviously that is making us a ton better."

The offense was able to get some traction in the latter stages of the scrimmage and found the end zome three times by the end of the night.  The first score was a 9-yard touchdown connection from senior quarterback Jordan Johnson to sophomore Jordan Harper.  The second scoring play was 21-yard score from Brady Gustafson to Ryan Burke.  And senior running back John Nguyen capped things off with a 39-yard scamper to pay dirt on the final play of the scrimmage. Nguyen led the ground game with 16 totes for 107 yards on the night.

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