MISSOULA – The Montana Grizzlies defense played much improved in its second spring scrimmage than it did most of last season.

The Griz allowed only one big play — a 48-yard touchdown to Justin Calhoun — on Friday, and made the offense work for its three scores. The ball-hawking secondary created three turnovers, and the defensive front earned seven total sacks to keep the offense on its toes. Redshirt junior Markell Sanders caused one of the interceptions, and talked about it following the scrimmage.

“It felt good. You know, just coming out here, making plays; that’s kind of what the coaches preached about,” Sanders said. “Just get out there and do your job. It was pretty exciting to get the ball and return it a little bit. I haven’t done that in a while, so it was pretty exciting.”

“It was great to see that the defense would bounce back, and didn’t give up big plays,” added head coach Bob Stitt. “They made the offense earn the points, and then came out with some turnovers. That’s an emphasis with the defense this spring. No big plays, make them earn it, and when you get a chance to catch the ball and intercept it, do it. And we did.”

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Montana will conclude its spring with its final scrimmage at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Butte.