MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzlies waited 485 days to get back on the football field.
On Saturday afternoon, UM wasted little time in flexing its muscles with a 59-3 victory over NCAA Division II school Central Washington at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
"It was great to be out there," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. "Just awesome to be able to line up with your brothers and teammates and go to battle with somebody besides ourselves. I enjoyed watching our guys go. Fun to be out there, fun to win. Football is a great game and I'm glad we're playing it."
Cam Humphrey threw for three touchdowns and ran for another while Samuel Akem and Gabe Sulser both returned from injuries that ended their 2019 seasons early by scoring touchdowns against the Wildcats. Sulser led Montana in all-purpose yards on the day with 162 total yards. He caught four passes for 62 yards, and racked up 54 and 46 yards on kick and punt returns, respectively. Akem finished with three catches for 49 yards.
"Honestly it had been so long since we'd played a game and we were definitely chomping at the bit to get it back out there and playing," Sulser said. "Obviously some of us, not just me, but there are a few other injured guys that it'd been even longer so we were ready to go and excited to play."
Nick Ostmo scored the game's first touchdown as the starting running back in place of the injured Marcus Knight. Ostmo also caught a score from Humphrey that was intended for Malik Flowers, but the ball bounced off Flowers and a pair of Wildcat defenders before Ostmo reeled it in and scored. Ostmo caught four passes for 43 yards while carrying the ball 17 times for 47 yards.
Bozeman High product Kris Brown also flashed his potential at the quarterback position once he entered the game in the third quarter. Brown ran for a score and threw for another, finding Keelan White in the fourth quarter. Brown finished 6 for 8 on throws for 88 yards and one score through the air while Humphrey finished 19 for 31 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Humphrey added 45 yards on the ground. As a team Montana racked up 529 yards of total offense.
True freshman Xavier Harris added a 1-yard score for UM while Jack Cooper knocked down a 47-yard field goal through the wind and snow in the first quarter.
Hauck called the special teams performance "dominant" on both sides. Montana totaled 105 kick return yards from Flowers and Sulser on just two combined returns, while Sulser and Robby Hauck combined for 77 punt return yards.
David Koppang and Gavin Robertson each grabbed interceptions for the Grizzlies. Defensively Montana held Central Washington to just 10 first downs and 178 total yards. Central Washington was just 2 for 15 on third-down conversions as well.
"That's why we're here," junior linebacker Patrick O'Connell said. "It felt great just going out there and getting after it in spring ball and coming out. I do like the spring games at the end of spring ball because that's the reason why we're here is to play games. I think it was great for our guys to get out there, have a lot of energy. Everyone's running around and making plays. It's amazing."
For full game highlights, check out the video above.