Senior quarterback Cam Humphrey threw a 43-yard bomb of a touchdown on the White team’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, but the defenses set the tone from there as the Montana Grizzlies closed fall camp with a spirited “maroon vs. white” scrimmage at Washington-Grizzly Stadium Friday.
Earlier in the week, UM’s senior class drafted the team into a pair of evenly divided squads – so even that the scrimmage ended with the same 7-0 scoreline.
The result of the draft: a pair of evenly divided squads in the four-quarter simulated game that featured big showings from names you know, plus breakout performances some of the team’s youngest players as well.
“That was really fun. I was proud of our guys to get divided up and play well in groups they don’t normally play with,” UM head coach Bobby Hauck said in a UM press release.
“I thought it was sharp, crisp, and hard-hitting. So, it was fun.”
Humphrey connected with freshman receiver Keelan White on a post route for the 43-yard score on the White team’s opening drive as part of a 215-yard day of offense. Even though they remained scoreless, the Maroon team produced more overall yardage with 332 yards of total offense led by QB’s Kris Brown and Kirk Rygol.
But all told, it was a defensive day as the White team posted six sacks and nearly added to their score with an interception for cornerback Autjoe Soe that was returned 99 yards but called back for a penalty.
Soe’s was one of three INTs on the day for the white, with the other two coming from D-end Braydon Deming and linebacker Braxton Hill.
Meanwhile, the Maroon squad added three sacks of their own from Eli Alford, Michael Matthews, and freshman Henry Nuce, with sophomore cornerback Corbin Walker diving for a highlight reel pass breakup as well.
For Hauck, it was the response the Grizzly defense needed after an offense-heavy scrimmage a week ago.
“The defense played well today. It was good to see them rally back because they got beat in our last scrimmage,” Hauck said.
“But I thought both sides of the ball were sharp. It was physical. We ran it well and tackled pretty well. It was good.”
In addition to Soe’s head-turning performance (the true freshman also added a sack to his defensive tally on the day), it was a big day overall for the team’s youngsters.
White, a redshirt-freshman walk-on receiver from Canada who earned a scholarship after a breakout true-freshman season, led all receivers with 100 yards on just four grabs as Humphrey’s favorite target of the day.
Similarly, true freshman Aaron Fontes had a big afternoon with five catches for 83 yards for the Maroon squad.
The quality reps for the team’s up and coming stars meant nothing but good things for the Griz moving forward as Hauck seeks to build depth up and down the Montana roster.
“This was good for them because they were mixed in at times with some of the more veteran guys, which isn’t always the case in practice. Often times they’re going against guys more their age, so they had to come out and man-up a bit on some older guys, so it will be fun to see the film and see how well they held up,” said Hauck.
The scrimmage caps the roughly six-week “fall camp” the Grizzlies were allotted by the NCAA after the Big Sky Conference canceled fall sports due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
Despite the lack of fall football games in Missoula for the first time since World War 2, Hauck says the Grizzlies made the most of a challenging situation.
“I’m proud of them. They’ve played hard every day. It’s been important to them to do things right and well, and in the weird situation that we’re in this fall, the focus and the want-to have been tremendous. So, I’m proud of our team, and I’m looking forward to the next time we get to play,” said Hauck.
The Big Sky Conference announced a spring season in 2021 that would replace the lost fall 2020 season on Wednesday, with the Grizzlies slated to open the year on February 27 at Northern Arizona.
Passing (A-C-I, Yds, TD)
Cam Humphrey 6-8-0, 91, 1, Robbie Patterson 5-11-0, 44, Carson Rostad 1-2-0, 6
Keelan White 4-100-1, Malik Flowers 2-10, Bryson Deming 2-17, Guido Ossello 1-10, Trase Le Texier 1-2, Elias Dewaters 1-2
Elias Dewaters 12-21, Xavier Harris 13-18, Kevin Armstead 2-3, Robbie Patterson 2-13, Cam Humphrey 2-12, Carson Rostad 1-6, Jaxon Lee 1-1
Alex Gubner 1-6, Autjoe Soe 1-5, Braxton Hill 1-3, Patrick O’Connell 1-3, Lorenzo Brown 1-3, Nick Guerena1-3
Braydon Deming (10), Braxton Hill (3), Autjoe Soe (20)
Carver Gilman (1)
Passing (A-C-I, Yds, TD)
Kris Brown 17-10-0, 98, Kirk Rygol 13-7-3, 105
Aaron Fontes 5-83, Cole Grossman 3-39, Mitch Roberts 3-28, Colten Curry 2-28, Nick Ostmo 2-15, Max Gardiner 1-6, Drew Turner 1-4
Drew Turner 5-56, Ryan Arntson 13-42, Kirk Rygol 9-14, Marcus Knight 4-11, Nick Ostmo 4-3, Kris Brown 7- -2
Eli Alford 1-5, Michael Matthews 1-8, Henry Nuce 1-7