SEATTLE, WASH. — It’s hard to put into words what happened at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington on Saturday night.
The Montana Grizzlies walked in and beat a ranked FBS opponent in Washington, 13-7, and the scene on the ground afterwards was one of pandemonium, but one of celebration for the Griz faithful.
The eyes of the college football world were on Montana when the FCS No. 9 Grizzlies shocked the FBS No. 20-ranked Washington Huskies in their home stadium to open the 2021 season. Notably, Montana was paid $675,000 to play the game.
"This is App State over Michigan. Make no mistake on that," UM coach Bobby Hauck said when comparing the game's significance.
When Marcus Welnel intercepted Dylan Morris to seal the Griz win, bedlam ensued on the field and sideline among the players and Griz fans, who brought a strong contingent to Seattle to support their football team.
"Like Washington, Montana football is a powerful presence in our region and like Washington people at Montana care about the Montana Grizzlies," Hauck said of the fans. "They eat, sleep, drink, pray Montana football. It’s awesome. It’s one of the reasons why it’s the greatest place in the world to play and coach is our people love the Montana Grizzlies as much as we love the Montana Grizzlies."
Jubilation among the players was there even before the clock struck zero.
"Yep! We did it! We did it!" said linebacker Patrick O'Connell, who finished with two sacks and three tackles for loss.
"Yessir!" added Welnel, who added a sack and a team-leading 12 total tackles to his stat sheet.
The celebration was on for Montana on the field, as players emotionally embraced one another as the Grizzlies of Montana became the talk of the town and the country after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football.
Many looked at quarterback Cam Humphrey, who scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and was playing in a stadium he grew up just down the road from in nearby Issaquah. Humphrey finished the game 12 for 23 passing for 105 yards while adding 14 yards on the ground plus the score.
"It was awesome. Like I said we were working all week and to be able to score some points for the Montana Grizzlies it’s a great feeling. I still can’t believe it, it’s awesome. I mean, I can believe it because we’re damn good. It’s like out of a movie or something, it’s pretty cool."
Freshman Xavier Harris led the Grizzlies in rushing with 70 yards on 15 carries. Mitch Roberts had two catches for 29 yards while Gabe Sulser reeled in three passes for 26 yards.
Gavin Robertson is another Seattle-area native -- hailing from Auburn -- and his two interceptions highlighted a dominant day from the defense that completely shut down the Huskies. In total Montana forced three turnovers, racked up three sacks and eight tackles for loss while holding Washington to just 291 total yards on 73 plays.
"It was big, being a part of this, going out there and beating a good UW team and just all the guys playing hyped up," Robertson said. "It was big time I almost cried."
The celebration of Montana's players at midfield will live on in Grizzly lore forever, and for a guy who has been a part of some big games during his career, Hauck said this one takes sole possession of the top moment.
"I’ve been coaching a long time and I think this is the biggest win of my coaching career," Hauck said. "They’re a good football team and I think they’re going to beat Michigan next week, that’s what I think. We’re very proud of getting this win and I’m just blessed to be the head coach and coach these guys because they play for us."