North Dakota’s defense a major challenge for Montana Grizzlies

Posted at 9:48 PM, Oct 11, 2018

MISSOULA – Montana’s offense sputtered in a shocking Homecoming loss to Portland State, and it won’t be easy to turn it around this week.

The Grizzlies take on North Dakota and the Fighting Hawks’ strong defense. UND is out to a 3-2 record in its first season transitioning out of the Big Sky Conference. UND picked up an impressive win at Sam Houston State, snapping the Bearkats’ 21-game home winning streak earlier this season.

The Fighting Hawks did it with their usual formula — a wave of great running backs and a stout defense. North Dakota has hassled quarterbacks into 20 sacks in five games, and it gives up only 22 points per contest. Griz coach Bobby Hauck feels UND’s work on the outside makes it even more dangerous up front.

“The thing that sticks out to me the most is, they are really good at corner,” said Hauck. “That kind of allows them to do some of the other stuff they like to do. Their corners will challenge you. They are good players. They’re hard to beat.”

“Any time you’re going against guys that have some notoriety, or have been recognized as some really good corners, that’s always exciting,” said Griz wide receiver Keenan Curran. “I love the challenge. It forces you to respect them a little bit off of what they’ve done. But at the same time, I don’t fear them and I don’t think any guy in my room fears them.”

The Griz have won four straight in this series. Montana has not played in Grand Forks, N.D. since 2014, so the current players will get their first look at the Alerus Center at noon this Saturday.