GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The University of North Dakota took advantage of three first-quarter fumbles by the Montana Grizzlies, turning each into a touchdown, en route to a 41-14 victory over the No. 22 team in the FCS.
Montana fell to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in Big Sky Conference play with the loss.
Deion Harris intercepted Dalton Sneed on the third play of the game, setting up the Fighting Hawks on Montana’s 10-yard line. Nate Ketteringham threw a touchdown pass to Noah Wanzek on UND’s first offensive play for a 7-0 lead.
Gavin Crow fumbled the ensuing kickoff for the Grizzlies, recovered by UND, and Ketteringham capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Colin Bingham fumbled on Montana’s third play of the next drive, with the Fighting Hawks again recovering, leading to Ketteringham’s 45-yard scoring strike to Garett Maag.
Ketteringham added two more touchdown passes, a 55-yard score to Izzy Adeoti and a 10-yard strike to Noah Wanzek for a 34-0 halftime lead. The latter came one play after Griz receiver Samori Toure fumbled, Montana’s third lost fumble of the half and fourth total turnover.
Montana sat quarterback Dalton Sneed late in the game, while Cam Humphrey entered and threw two touchdown passes to Samuel Akem for UM’s only scores in the loss.
TURNING POINT: When Harris intercepted Sneed’s pass on the opening drive, it opened up the floodgates of errors for the Montana offense. One week after losing four fumbles in an embarrassing loss to Portland State, UM finished with four total turnovers, three in the first quarter, which UND turned into three touchdowns.
STAT OF THE GAME: Montana’s four turnovers, including the three in the opening quarter, were the key difference, but UND compiled 524 yards of offense, 270 on the ground, dismantling Montana’s defense. Five different players rushed the ball for UND, including James Johannesson, who rushed 16 times for 110 yards and a score. Ketteringham hit eight different receivers, with Wanzek leading the way with seven receptions for 95 yards and two scores.
GAME BALLS: Ketteringham and Evan Holm. UND’s quarterback had 210 yards and four touchdowns at halftime, putting the game well out of reach. Holm finished with eight tackles and a forced fumble and ensuing 25-yard return to set up Ketteringham and the Fighting Hawks’ offense at the UM 10-yard line, leading to Wanzek’s touchdown and the 34-0 lead.
WHAT’S NEXT: Montana (4-3, 2-2) receives a much-needed bye week after dropping consecutive Big Sky Conference games. The Grizzlies host No. 14 UC Davis on Saturday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.