Live coverage from Moscow, Idaho as the Grizzlies visit Idaho Oct. 23, 2021 in the Kibbie Dome for the Little Brown Stein.
Montana tumbled six spots to No. 11 this week, its lowest ranking of the year after being No. 9 in the preseason poll. The Griz are fourth among the five ranked Big Sky teams, but they’re tied for seventh in the 13-team conference standings.
They begin a crucial stretch as the Griz go on the road for three of their next four games before closing the regular season by hosting No. 8 Montana State on Nov. 20. They’ll need to win three of their final five games to get to seven wins, the typical minimum for playoff qualification.
Third- and fourth-string running backs Xavier Harris and Isiah Childs aren't on the field for pregame warmups. UM has already been missing All-American Marcus Knight and backup Nick Ostmo. That leaves true freshman Junior Bergen, a converted wide receiver who's been the fifth stringer this year, warming up with the first-team offense. The others warming up are true freshman Colter Janacaro, sophomore Drew Turner and junior wak-on Ryan Arntson.
Idaho wins the coin toss and will receive the opening kickoff.
Montana coach Bobby Hauck on the QB situation in his pregame radio interview: "We're going to start Kris Brown, and I would expect to see Robbie Patterson certainly in the game some, and we're going to let those guys go, and odds are it'll be those two guys."
Montana coach Bobby Hauck on the RBs in pregame radio interview: "Junior Bergen will get the start and he'll get the majority of the carries unless he can't go any further. Our young freshman from Big Sky High School in Missoula, Colter Janacaro, will be the 2nd guy in."
Montana starts Robby Hauck, Gavin Robertson & TraJon Cotton at safety. 1st start for Cotton at UM and 1st start for Robertson since Sept. 11. Robertson returned last week after an illness. Had been Hauck, Nash Fouch & Garrett Graves past 4 games. Fouch had started all 6. Montana sophomore Corbin Walker is starting at CB in place of Justin Ford, who's had an interception in four consecutive games.
Aundre Carter with a 2-yard TD run on opening drive. Fourth time in seven games Griz give up TD on opening drive. Idaho runs on all 10 plays, picks up 63 yards. Montana senior DE Justin Belknap called for unsportsmanlike conduct, for 12 yards.
SCORE: Idaho 7, Montana 0, with 10:03 left in the first quarter.
Montana sophomore center AJ Forbes is down on field for over a minute on opening drive. He limps off with slight asisstance. Moses Mallory slides from right gaurd to center, and Skyler Martin comes in at right guard. Kris Brown sacked on 1st play after that, Griz punt.
Montana forces a three-and-out on its second drive after giving up a touchdown to Idaho on the first drive. Keelan White is back to field the punt and calls for a fair catch at the Griz 30-yard line.
Montana center AJ Forbes is not back on the field for the second drive. Moses Mallory remains at center and Skyler Martin at right guard. Montana goes three-and-out on its second drive. Kris Brown pitches to Junior Bergen for a loss of 5 yards. Brown nearly throws a pick-6 as Idaho's Tommy McCormick breaks up a pass to Sammy Akem. Brown then underthrows Akem on third down.
Montana forces a second consecutive three-and-out as Joe Babros gets a sack. Griz should've got good field position as Idaho punts out of its end zone. But Idaho bombs a punt 59 yards, Keelan White doesn't get a great return and Griz get a penalty. They start at own 23.
Montana sophomore Robbie Patterson, a spring 2020 JUCO transfer, comes in to run for 2 yards. He then completes a third-down pass to Sammy Akem for a first down. Kris Brown back in. Junior Bergen bursts up the middle for a 10-yard TD run.
SCORE: Griz 7, Idaho 7, 1:11 left in first quarter.
End of first quarter: Montana 7, Idaho 7
Montana's defense has forced three consecutive three-and-outs for a total of minus-5 yards after giving up a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive to start the game.
Montana QB Kris Brown takes a deep shot to WR Keelan White on third down, but White can't haul it in. Griz go three-and-out and punt.
Cornerback Justin Ford and safeties Garrett Graves and Nash Fouch have now all played despite not starting today. Montana senior DE Justin Belknap is down on the field for a couple moments. He gets up rather quickly and jogs off on his own. Idaho shifts to RB Roshaun Johnson running the Wildcat offense. The first snap goes off his fingertips, and he loses 11 yards. Two plays later, Idaho punts and Tyle Flink nearly blocks the punt. True freshman WR Aaron Fontes fair catches the punt at the UM 20-yard line.
Montana QB Kris Brown converts a third-down pass to Ryan Simpson. Idaho penalized for a facemask penalty on the tackle. On the next play, Brown hits Sammy Akem down the left sideline for 39 yards to the 15-yard line.Montana senior Moses Mallory is now down on the field holding his right leg. That leaves the Griz with their third-string center and third-string right guard for the time being as Skyler Martin slides to center. Kordell Pillans now at right gaurd. On third down, Montana QB Kris Brown rifles a 6-yard TD pass to Cole Grossman. That's a 10-play, 80-yard drive for the Griz.
SCORE: Griz 14, Idaho 7, with 7:09 left in the second quarter.
Montana junior cornerback Justin Ford with an interception for the fifth (yes, 5th) consecutive game. Montana senior Kevin Macias connects on a season-long 48-yard field goal as the Griz convert the turnover into points. He's now 7 of 11 in his first season after transferring from Arizona State. That's 17 unanswered points for UM.
SCORE: Griz 17, Idaho 7, 5:09 left in the second quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out, Montana senior Moses Mallory is back at center, while Skyler Martin slides back to right guard. True freshman RB Colter Janacaro also in and runs for 3 yards on his first carry of the game.
Montana gets to Idaho 4-yard line after passes of 19 yards to Keelan White and 31 yards to Mitch Roberts. White dives, drops a pass in end zone. The Griz had trick play on 4th down but are called for a false start. Kevin Macias makes 27-yard FG
SCORE: Griz 20, Idaho 7, 0:32 left in the second quarter.
End of second quarter: Montana 20, Idaho 7
Montana true freshman RB Colter Janacaro runs for a 59-yard touchdown, but left guard Hunter Mayginnes is called for a block below the waist. The ball is now back on the Griz 28-yard line.
After the Griz force a three-and-out, Montana QB Kris Brown fakes a handoff, rolls right, throws to Mitch Roberts, who gets behind a slipping defender, and Roberts goes 70 yards down the right sideline to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Brown runs it for a 3-yard score.
SCORE: Griz 27, Montana 7, 9:48 left in the third quarter.
Montana senior DE Justin Belknap is down on the field for the second time today. He slowly walks off on his own.
Montana LB Marcus Welnel forces a fumble. It looks like Alex Gubner has a chance to fall on it and then Jacob McGourin also, but Idaho recovers the ball. Idaho punt. It was the first time Idaho had crossed midfield since its opening drive of the game. There's 3:05 left in Q3.
A bad snap bounces into the end zone, and Kris Brown throws it away while being tackled. He was outside of the pocket and somehow had a receiver in the area to avoid intentional grounding and a safety. No review for his knee possibly being down before the throw.
End third quarter: Montana 27, Idaho 7
Montana gets a first down on a horse collar tackle penalty by Idaho. QB Kris Brown had nothing going on that play, and the Griz were looking like they'd have to punt. They end up punting later to end the drive.
Montana senior cornerback Omar Hicks Onu, an Oregon State grad transfer, intercepts a pass and runs it back about 40 yards for a touchdown. But, Montana is called for a block in the back after the INT, putting the ball at the Idaho 35-yard line.
Montana true freshman RB Junior Bergen bursts up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, this one for 19 yards. He has 18 rushes for 77 yards, both single-game highs for the converted WR.
SCORE: Griz 34, Idaho 7, with 11:05 to play.
Montana DT Alex Gubner is penalized for roughing the passer & targeting. The play can't be reviewed, and possibly overturned, because there's no replay available at the stadium. The ejection should mean that Gubner has to sit out the first half next week vs Southern Utah.
Montana gives up a score for the first time since the opening drive of the game. Gevani McCoy hits Mekhi Stevenson for a 14-yard TD.
SCORE: 34, Idaho 14, with 71 seconds to play.
Idaho recovers an onside kick. But a bad snap on fourth down results in Jace Lewis getting a sack, the seventh of the game by the Griz. UM is up 34-14 with 51 seconds left and is looking to add to that, maybe because Idaho went for the onside kick.
FINAL: Montana 34, Idaho 14
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.