Saturday night the Montana Grizzly football team got revenge against Appalachian State; After suffering a loss to the Mountaineers to start last season, the Griz got the statement win at home this time 30-6 the final in front of a record crowd 26,293 fans.
Not only was the anticipation of the first regular season game under the lights in Washington-Grizzly Stadium on the minds of people watching the game, but so was the return of Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson.
It was a slow start offensively for both teams, neither team scored in the first quarter due to solid defensive play, but in the second quarter the Grizzlies started to get in rhythm on offense. It started with a 50-yard throw and catch down field from Johnson to sophomore receiver Ellis Henderson. Then three plays later the 60 yard drive was capped off with a touchdown reception by Henderson from just six yards out. Johnson played an efficient game finishing with 251 yards to go with his two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
While much of the focus on the Grizzlies offense surrounded Johnson, the ground game played a huge role in the victory. Travon Van and Jordan Canada carried the ball a combined 45 times while racking up 230 yards. Van scored his first career touchdown as a Montana Grizzly in the second quarter on a 2-yard run. The touchdown gave Montana a 13-0 lead over the Mountaineers.
"Being an old timer, seeing us run the football down their throat, a team that's going to be an FBS school in a year is just so gratifying," said Griz head coach Mick Delaney.
"They were awesome, they made us go," said Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson. "To have two 100 yard rushers against a team like Appalachian State really speaks volumes about our backs. I really think it speaks about our offensive line too.
The defensive play from UM was as important of an element as any. The defense only allowed Appalachian State to score six total points. Montana only got to the quarterback twice for sacks in the contest but brought pressure on several passing plays.
The Grizzlies' three starting linebackers combined for 23 total tackles and one pass break up. The defensive front didn't make it easy on the Mountaineers either, they had a total of six tackles for a loss and two sacks.
"This is just a huge win for the University of Montana and for this football team which is the 2013 Griz," said Delaney.
The Griz will get an extra chance to savor this victory with a bye week, Montana's next contest will be at North Dakota on September 14th.