MISSOULA — Defense led the way once again for the No. 3 Montana Grizzlies as UM topped South Dakota 24-7 on Saturday afternoon at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
Montana held the South Dakota offense to just 209 yards total in the game and used five sacks to continually pin the Coyotes deep in their own territory. Patrick O'Connell led the way with 11 total tackles, two for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Marcus Welnel, Tyler Flink and Braxton Hill all got in on sacks as did Henry Nuce who had half a sack.
The Grizzlies held South Dakota to just 3 for 15 on third down. The Coyotes never quit, however, and broke through and scored the first points against Montana this season when Travis Theis scored on a 25-yard touchdown run with 6:27 left in the game.
USD was unable to mount a full comeback despite hanging in the game, and Hill's sack forced a safety with 51 seconds left in the contest to effectively seal the game for the Griz.
UM quarterback Lucas Johnson accounted for three touchdowns, running for the game's first two scores before finding Junior Bergen on a 12-yard touchdown connection in the third quarter. Johnson finished the game 22 for 28 for 180 yards and also rushed for 75 yards in the game. Bergen led the way in receiving with six catches for 35 yards and the score while Cole Grossman added a pair of catches for 64 yards.
The Grizzlies improved to 2-0 with the win while the Coyotes dropped to 0-2.
For full highlights from Saturday's game, check out the video above.