MISSOULA – The Montana football team came out of Week 2 with a big win over Drake. The Grizzlies now begin Week 3 with their first road challenge at a Western Illinois team that’s winless record doesn’t necessarily reflect how tough of a game it should be.
Montana is 2-0 on the season and a lot of that can be credited to the defense thus far. In Week 1, the Griz scored 26 first-half points, then scored zero in the second, but pulled out the 26-23 win over Northern Iowa. In Week 2, the Griz had only 50 more yards of offense than in Week 1, but the scoreboard showed a much more dominant performance of 48-16 against Drake.
That defense has been spear-headed by sophomore linebacker Dante Olson, who was named the Big Sky Conference defensive player of the week for the second week in a row on Monday morning.
Like it was against UNI in Week 1, Olson’s stat line against Drake was video game-like, with 16 total tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and two sacks that came in the span of three plays.
His combined 29 tackles on the year rank him at No. 3 in the FCS and No. 1 in the league, averaging 1.45 takedowns per game. His three total sacks on the year rank him at No. 6 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Sky, as well.
When asked what about how this defense allows him to make plays, Olson said it’s simply the coaching and everyone doing their job.
“I think that the coaches have done a really good job. Like, they’re great play callers, they’re great communicators with each other and with us, so I think that it’s not necessarily freeing up one guy or the other,” Olson said. “As a team we had seven sacks this week, which is awesome. Like I said, I’m not too worried about stats except for wins and losses.”