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Rapid Reaction: Montana 42, Western Illinois 7

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Posted at 9:15 PM, Sep 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-12 01:13:52-04

MISSOULA — After a stunning victory over FBS Washington in Week 1, the Montana Grizzlies continued to roll in their home opener at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday, defeating Western Illinois 42-7.

Montana's defense, a major factor in the win over UW, was superb again. The Griz held the Leathernecks to just 7 points and the WIU offense never found itself in the red zone.

After the teams traded punts for much of the first quarter, running back Isiah Childs opened the scoring for Montana with a 7-yard touchdown run with 3:16 left in the frame. Montana added another score when quarterback Cam Humphrey hit Samuel Akem for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Western Illinois finally got on the board when Michael Lawson picked off Humphrey and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, but it wasn't enough for the Leathernecks to build any momentum.

The Griz pushed their lead in the second half when Humphrey found Malik Flowers in the end zone (the first of two touchdowns for Flowers) on UM's first possession of the half, and a dominant defense allowed the Griz to cruise to the win.

TURNING POINT: With time running out in the second quarter, Humphrey avoided a sack, scrambled to his right and found Mitch Roberts for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Griz up 21-7 at halftime. The Griz took control from there, scoring again early in the third quarter to put the game away.

STAT OF THE GAME: 133 total yards for Western Illinois. The Leathernecks had no room to breathe. WIU's only score came on Lawson's interception return.

GAME BALLS: Humphrey and linebacker Patrick O'Connell. Humphrey wasn't perfect (two interceptions) but his five touchdowns went to four different receivers and he totaled 252 passing yards. O'Connell stood out the most on a defense that had many good performances. He led with 9 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss.

WHAT'S NEXT: Montana moves to 2-0 and enters its bye week. The Griz will play next on Sept. 25 at home against Cal Poly.