SACRAMENTO – For a second straight week Sacramento State knocked off a Top 10 team from Montana, handing the No. 5 Montana Grizzlies their first Big Sky conference loss of the season 49-22.
The Grizzlies scored the first points of the game after a 64-yard rush from Jerry Louis-McGee but had trouble moving the ball against Sac State’s defense the rest of the way. The Griz defense was outmatched by the Hornets high powered offense, as well. Sac State quarterback Kevin Thomson carved up the UM secondary with 369 yards passing and four touchdowns through the air.
Montana’s Dalton Sneed struggled mightily after the Griz bye week and left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Cam Humphrey entered in relief but couldn’t lead the Griz on a scoring drive.
TURNING POINT: After Montana scored the first touchdown of the game on its opening drive, Sac State answered on it’s ensuing possession with a 44-yard touchdown pass. Then the Hornets opted to go for two, and Marshel Martin muscled it in to put Sac State up 8-7. His only two points in a high-scoring affair, but it represented the moment Sacramento State took control of the ballgame.
STAT OF THE GAME: Sacks and turnovers. Montana’s offense has been nearly unstoppable through two Big Sky games, but the Sac State defense made three-time league player of the week Dalton Sneed look pedestrian, sacking him four times and picking him off twice. A hard hit in the third quarter knocked Sneed out of the game entirely with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
GAME BALLS: Kevin Thomson, Sac State offensive line. Thomson has the number of both Big Sky teams in Montana. After torching No. 6 Montana State at Bobcat Stadium last week, he put on another stellar performance against No. 5 Montana. For a third straight game, he passed for at least three touchdowns and rushed for at least two more scores. He has to be considered a front runner for Big Sky offensive MVP honors. The Hornet offensive line hadn’t allowed a sack all season, and although they gave up one sack tonight, Thompson largely had all kinds of time in the pocket to make throws.
WHAT’S NEXT: Montana (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big Sky Conference) returns home for a rivalry matchup against Eastern Washington (3-4, 2-1). The Eagles were top 5 team in the preseason but have since dropped out of the poll after losses to Idaho and Sacramento State. The Hornets (5-2, 3-0), meanwhile, will face Cal Poly (2-5, 1-3) on the road.