(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
Following Montana's 47-27 non-conference win over Monmouth on Saturday, Grizzly head coach Bobby Hauck recalled a memory from one of his previous coaching stops in where it had been 20 years since they had returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Since returning to Montana in 2017, Hauck, known far and wide for his special teams prowess, has now seen two kickoffs returned for a touchdown thanks to the speed of sophomore Malik Flowers and a prideful return unit clearing his path.
On Saturday, Flowers returned a second-quarter kick a full 100 yards for a record-setting score to open the floodgates in the Grizzlies' route of the Hawks. And once the gates were open, UM quarterback Dalton Sneed took it from there, completing 75 percent of his passes for a total 334 yards and four touchdowns in the lopsided win.
With a pair of big performances that helped the Griz to an important win over a team receiving top-25 votes, both Sneed and Flowers have reaped the rewards. On Monday, Sneed was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week. Flowers also earned weekly honors, being named the ROOT Sports Special Teams Player of the Week.
This marks the first time two players from the University of Montana have been selected as Player of the Week since 2013, when Matt Hermanson and Ellis Henderson won the defensive and special teams player of the week awards, respectively.
Flowers' recognition marks the first of his career, and the second time this season a Grizzly has earned the special teams weekly honor after Jerry Louie-McGee ran a punt return back against North Alabama on week two.
Monday's weekly accolade is the second in two years for Sneed, who was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year following a breakout junior season.
Sneed was staggeringly accurate against Monmouth, completing 30 of his 40 (75%) passes for a total of 334 yards and four touchdowns to help the Griz race past the Hawks, who were picked to finish second in the Big South Conference.
Sneed's completion percentage was the second-best of any QB in the league on week four, and the most against a team receiving top-25 votes. His 75% completion percentage was also a career-high and was the best of any UM QB since 2016. His 334 yards is the third-highest total of his career at UM. He also added 21 yards on the ground as well for 355 yards of total offense.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native now has the best overall completion percentage in the league at .694, the tenth-best overall percentage in FCS football. His 27.75 completions per game is the fourth-best nationally, and he ranks among the FCS's top ten in passing yards (1,214) and ranks eleventh in passing yards per game (303.5).
Adding to his weekly haul, Sneed was also named the College Sports Madness Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday.
Flowers returned a kickoff a full 100 yards for a touchdown against Monmouth – the second kick return TD of his career.
Flowers' return was the longest in modern Grizzly history, passing Damon Boddie's 1993 return of 99 yards at Idaho. Milt Popovich returned a kick for a TD 102 yards in 1936 to sit atop the UM record book.
The Fontana, Calif., native is the leading kick returner in the Big Sky, averaging 32.2 yards per return, a total that ranks him sixth in the FCS. This is the first Big Sky Player of the Week recognition of his career.
Idaho linebacker Charles Akanno was named the ROOT SPORTS Defensive Player of the Week after registering a career-high nine tackles and assisted on a tackle for loss in Idaho's 35-27 win against No. 11 Eastern Washington. He added three pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.