Big Sky Conference

Griz D seeks evolution after opponents find weaknesses

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The plays came in what felt like an avalanche of yards as Montana Griz followers watching both inside Northern Arizona’s Walkup Skydome and through screens in their living rooms  no longer recognized the defense that once engendered so much faith.

First came a 74-yard touchdown on the first snap of the game in Flagstaff. Then a 26-yard completion, then a 39-yard reception. Of the first five passes NAU senior quarterback Blake Kemp attempted during Northern Arizona’s 45-34 on October 22, four were thrown over the top of Montana’s defense.

Considering Montana entered the game atop the Big Sky Conference in pass yards allowed and opponent pass efficiency at the time, it seemed the Lumberjacks’ game plan was daring. But during the week of preparation it became clear to the NAU staff that they had just one option if they wanted to upset the 10th-ranked team in the nation.

The plays came in what felt like an avalanche of yards as Montana Griz followers watching both inside Northern Arizona’s Walkup Skydome and through screens in their living rooms  no longer recognized the defense that once engendered so much faith.

First came a 74-yard touchdown on the first snap of the game in Flagstaff. Then a 26-yard completion, then a 39-yard reception. Of the first five passes NAU senior quarterback Blake Kemp attempted during Northern Arizona's 45-34 on October 22, four were thrown over the top of Montana’s defense.

Considering Montana entered the game atop the Big Sky Conference in pass yards allowed and opponent pass efficiency at the time, it seemed the Lumberjacks’ game plan was daring. But during the week of preparation it became clear to the NAU staff that they had just one option if they wanted to upset the 10th-ranked team in the nation.

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Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Right Reserved. 

About Kyle Sample

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