MISSOULA – Most of the Montana Grizzlies’ football opponents this year have based their offense on the ground game. This week the attack comes from the air.
Montana takes on sixth-ranked UC Davis, the only team still unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play, on Saturday. The Aggies lead the conference in scoring at more than 42 points per game, and they also top the league in passing at more than 330 yards per contest.
Junior quarterback Jake Maier might be the front-runner for Big Sky MVP. The second-year starter has 21 touchdown passes in seven games and only three interceptions.
Montana’s defensive backs will face their biggest challenge so far, so the Griz defensive line and offense need to help out.
“If the guys win up front, our secondary looks good, so we need to win up front,” said Griz head coach Bobby Hauck. “That’ll help our secondary out. And conversely, when they decide they’re going to run the ball, we better support well from the back end.”
“The greatest defense is a good offense, where we’re keeping our defense off the field,” said UM quarterback Dalton Sneed. “That’s one thing we’ve done a poor job of as an offense. We’ve put our defense in too many bad positions turning the ball over. Playing a good offense like UC Davis, we need to control the game on offense, put drives together, and give our defense a break.”
UC Davis comes in as the favorite this week, but the Aggies have never beaten the Grizzlies in seven tries. Montana tries to keep that trend going at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.