MISSOULA – Young teams often make a ton of improvement as a season goes on. The Montana Grizzlies are starting to show that growth.
The defense has looked strong from the first snap, and now the offense seems to have caught up.
Montana scored more than 40 points in each of its Big Sky Conference games. Head coach Bobby Hauck always wants balance with the ball, and now he’s getting it.
The Griz averaged only 3.6 yards per carry through the first three non-conference games, but against Sacramento State and Cal Poly, they picked up 8.5 yards per rush, including several long touchdowns. Big strides from an inexperienced offensive line are a big reason for the jump.
“They are probably blocking a little bit better,” said Hauck when asked about his O-line. “They are better targeted. I think they are a little more sure of themselves, so they’re playing a little faster. When you play faster and are more assured, you’re probably going to play a little bit better.”
“Most definitely you feel the momentum,” added sophomore receiver Samuel Akem, who has hauled in 302 yards and a team-high four touchdown receptions. “But I feel like it just makes us more hungry. I mean, that’s how I view it. When we have a good week I’m just like, ‘Man, let’s capitalize on this and let’s do even better next week.'”
Montana will look to thrill the Homecoming crowd in Washington-Grizzly Stadium Saturday when Portland State (1-4) comes to Missoula. The 14th-ranked Grizzlies (4-1) and that improved offense will be heavy favorites against the Vikings.