[Vandal] Griz Hit Their Stride, Keep Possesion of Stein

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Sun Oct 24 07:42:27 PDT 2021

>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoSunday, October 24, 2021
Griz Hit Their Stride, Keep Possesion of Stein
After Vandals strike first, Montana answers with 34 consecutive points to win BSC tilt
 By Stephan Wiebe
MOSCOW — The Vandals struck first and forced two quick punts, but the good times didn’t last for Idaho fans Saturday afternoon at the Kibbie Dome.
No. 11 Montana rattled off 34 consecutive points for a lopsided rivalry football win against Idaho, 34-14.
The UM victory keeps the Little Brown Stein in Missoula where it’s remained since the turn of the century. The Griz have won seven straight against the Vandals, who last beat Montana in 1999.
“It’s good to see our guys with the Little Brown Stein,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. “They carry it around like it’s the Super Bowl trophy. It’s awesome.”
Idaho (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) scored first on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that didn’t feature a single pass and was capped by bruising running back Aundre Carter’s seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
Montana (5-2, 2-2) didn’t even the score until late in the first quarter on a 10-yard run by true freshman running back Junior Bergen, who scored twice in his first start.
But Idaho couldn’t refind its magic on offense, punting the ball nine times, and the Griz slowly added ticks to the scoreboard behind a backup quarterback, backup running back and stellar defense the rest of the way.
UM quarterback Kris Brown passed for 256 yards, including a 39-yarder to Samuel Akem that set up a 6-yard touchdown pass on third down to tight end Cole Grossman for the go-ahead score in the second quarter.
A couple of field goals later, the Griz led 20-7 at halftime and then extended the lead to 34-7 before Idaho scored a garbage-time touchdown late in the fourth.
Last week, the Vandal defense came under fire after No. 2 Eastern Washington piled up 71 points against Idaho in Cheney. UI featured a much-improved defensive performance against UM, but this time it was the offense that struggled to move the ball against the Grizzlies’ stout defense.
“It’s life, man,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said of his message to his team. “You got two choices: You can keep fighting, you can keep working as hard as you can to get better, or quit.
“We’re not going to quit, we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep working as hard as we can to improve.”
For the second straight game, the Idaho offense was led by quarterbacks Zach Borisch, a sophomore, and Gevani McCoy, a true freshman.
The Vandals mostly ran the ball, with 47 rushes to 19 passes on the day, but mustered only a 2.1-yard average against Montana’s blitz-heavy defense.
The lone bright spot outside of UI’s first drive was a late touchdown drive led by McCoy. The freshman fired completions of 27 yards to wide receiver Mekhi Stevenson and 34 yards to Kyrin Beacham before hitting Stevenson on a well-placed, over-the-shoulder touchdown pass from 14 yards out. The touchdown was the first as a Vandal for McCoy and for Stevenson, a junior transfer from UNLV.
The touchdown came with 1:11 left in the game — UI’s first score since the opening drive.“First off, it was a great experience, just the experience with this team and just for that to be my first touchdown, it felt good with that group of guys out there,” McCoy said. “Late in the game, too, how we just kept fighting.”
McCoy went 8-of-18 passing for 123 yards and one touchdown, but also tossed two interceptions. A third pick was called back on a roughing the passer penalty.
He also finished with 14 passing yards despite scrambling for 67. He was sacked five times, losing 53 yards.
Borisch attempted only one pass, a 22-yard completion to Stevenson, and rushed for a team-high 44 yards, 28 of which came on a long run on UI’s first scoring drive.
With the toughest stretch of conference games behind them, the Vandals will return to the Kibbie Dome next Saturday to play host to Northern Arizona.
“We might lose, but at the end of the day, we have another week, we have more games that keep on coming,” said Idaho linebacker Tre Walker, who tallied a team-high 11 tackles. “So we just gotta attack Sunday and just keep that mindset. The season’s not over yet.”
Turning pointMontana cornerback Justin Ford picked off Idaho quarterback Gevani McCoy midway through the second quarter for his fifth straight game with an interception. The turnover set up an eventual 48-yard field goal by kicker Kevin Macias for a 17-7 UM lead, and it was all Grizzlies from there.Stars of the gameGrizzlies cornerback JUSTIN FORD snagged his fifth interception in as many games for a swarming Montana defense that was also led by linebackers JACE LEWIS (13 tackles, 2 TFLs) and PATRICK O’CONNELL (2 sacks, 2.5 TFLs). On offense, Montana wide receiver MITCH ROBERTS grabbed seven receptions for 145 yards and true freshman running back JUNIOR BERGEN had a pair of touchdown runs.Idaho linebacker TRE WALKER continues to lead the Vandal defense. He added to his team-high in tackles with 11 on the day.Up nextIdaho plays host to Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Kibbie Dome.
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