MISSOULA — On Saturday, it was another dominant performance for the Griz defense as they suffocated the South Dakota Coyotes on their way to a 24-7 win to start there season off 2-0.
The Griz defense was everywhere on the field, causing nonstop chaos for the South Dakota offense all afternoon, managing to keep them off the scoreboard until the end of the fourth quarter.
"Longest streak not to give up a point in Grizzly history," said Montana head coach Bobby Hauck. "And I think the biggest point differential in two games in like 75 years, so good start by our team."
South Dakota quarterback Carson Camp needed eyes in the back of his head as he was under pressure throughout the game more often than not, and was sacked a total of five times.
Big Sky Conference preseason Defensive Player of the Year Patrick O’Connell led the team in tackles with 11, tackles for loss with two, and added 1.5 sacks.
"You know, defensively they’re pretty unique in terms of what they do," said South Dakota head coach Bob Nielson. "And I think it makes them, you know, makes them hard to move the ball against."
The secondary held strong as well, limiting the Coyotes to 119 yards in the air, breaking up passes all day.
While proud of the second consecutive strong outing, the Griz defense keeps the standard high.
"I mean, we shouldn’t have gave up seven (points on Saturday) anyway," said O'Connell. "But there’s a reason why we’ve only given up seven points in two games so it’s awesome to see."
On the other side of the ball, the Griz offense put up 22 points on the board, headlined by two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Lucas Johnson in the first quarter.
But it was the defense that capped off the scoring for the day with a safety by linebacker and Anaconda native Braxton Hill in the final minute of the game.
"Playing defense, facing towards the north end zone, I mean that’s like basically the dream of especially a Montana kid," said O’Connell with a huge smile. "So to see him go make that safety, that tackle in the end zone, and then go crazy and get the north end zone going, I’m sure is honestly one of the dreams of his growing up and I couldn’t be more happy for him."
Looking ahead, the Griz will be traveling to Indiana State next Saturday for their first away game of the year as they aim to keep their hot start to the season alive.