Big Sky Conference

North Dakota rips Montana in Grand Forks, 41-14


Montana committed four first-half turnovers, North Dakota quarterback Nate Ketteringham accounted for five first-half touchdowns, and the Fighting Hawks turned a blip into a crisis by routing the Grizzlies, 41-14, in Grand Forks Saturday.

It was the first time ever in Bobby Hauck’s head coaching career at Montana that the Grizzlies have lost back-to-back regular-season games. Hauck entered last week having won 31 of his last 32 Big Sky Conference games dating back to his first tenure as UM’s head coach between 2003 and 2009. UM lost 22-20 to Portland State last week, its first home loss under Hauck since 2007 and its first regular-season home loss since 2005.

The Griz fell to 4-3, and will now likely have to win out to clinch a spot in the FCS playoffs. Montana has as bye next week. North Dakota, playing as an FCS independent this season, is now 4-2 overall.

A week after losing to Portland State on a last-second field goal, Montana’s demise came quickly in a gruesome first half that ended with North Dakota ahead 34-0.

Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed threw an interception under pressure on the third play of the game, with All-American corner Deion Harris returning it 35 yards to the 10.

Ketteringham hit tight end Noah Wanzek for the touchdown on the very next play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Montana defensive back Gavin Crow, getting his second touch of the season, fumbled the ball right back to the Fighting Hawks.

Five plays later, North Dakota was in the end zone again, with Ketteringham sneaking it over from the 1-yard line.

October 13, 2018: in a NCAA FCS football game between the Montana Grizzlies and the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks at the Alerus Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota. _ defeated _ _-_. Russell Hons

That put Montana behind 14-0 not even four minutes into the game. The Griz came back from the same deficit against Western Illinois earlier in the season to take the lead in an eventual loss, but it wasn’t to be on this day.

Montana did almost strike back, hitting a 59-yard sweep play to true freshman Gabe Sulser, but on second-and-goal from the 1, the Griz tried to hand the ball off to nominal tight end Colin Bingham. He fumbled the exchange, and North Dakota recovered at the 2.

The Fighting Hawks then put together a nine-play, 98-yard touchdown drive, finished off with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Ketteringham to Garrett Maag.

Although there was still more than 45 minutes left in the game, that put the final nail in Montana’s coffin, and the last three-quarters of the game were a dreary slog towards the final whistle.

Marcus Welnel blocked a punt to give the Griz some hope, but Tim Semenza missed his first field-goal attempt of the season, pushing a 45-yarder barely wide right from the left hash. He was 10-of-10 before the miss.

Ketteringham added two more first-half touchdown passes with a 55-yard bomb to a wide-open Izzy Adeoti and, after UND corner Evan Holm just ripped the ball away from Samori Toure after a reception, another 10-yard toss to Wanzek.

James Johannesson, who led all players with 108 rushing yards, bulled over from 10 yards early in the fourth quarter to make it 41-0 (North Dakota missed the extra point after Adeoti’s touchdown), before backup quarterback Cam Humphrey got the Griz on the board in garbage time with two touchdown throws to Sammy Akem, of 68 and 27 yards.

Montana sophomore wide receiver Sammy Akem/ by Russ Hons, for Skyline Sports

Akem had eight catches for 124 yards and the two scores for Montana, all game-highs.

Josh Buss led all tacklers with nine for the Griz.

North Dakota ran for 282 yards on 53 attempts and out-gained the Griz 536 to 413.

Montana will have a bye week next week before hosting UC Davis.

North Dakota will travel to Sacramento State next week.






Montana junior quarterback Dalton Sneed/ by Russ Hons, UND athletics

Montana safety Reid Miller intercepts a pass/Russ Hons, for Skyline Sports


Photos by Russ Hons, UND athletics. All Rights Reserved. 

About Andrew Houghton

Andrew Houghton grew up in Washington, DC. He graduated from the University of Montana journalism school in December 2015 and spent time working on the sports desk at the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Georgia, before moving back to Missoula and becoming a part of Skyline Sports in early 2018.

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