MISSOULA — It was assumed that at some point in Saturday's game against Portland State that Robby Hauck would become Montana's all-time tackles leader.
But after he broke that record, Hauck had an encore performance just before halftime, as he took a missed field goal all the way down the east sideline at Washington-Grizzly Stadium for a touchdown, as the Montana Grizzlies improved to 4-0 and rolled to a big win, 53-16.
Hauck came into the game needing just three tackles to surpass Dante Olson for the all-time tackles record at Montana.
The senior took quick care of that milestone early in the second quarter, and he finished the game with seven total tackles to put him at 402 for his career, and he now sits alone at No. 1 in UM history.
"It was great but I really was more fired up about us getting the win today," Hauck said. "I'll probably take a little bit of time to think about that now, but we were all pretty locked in and ready to go. It was great. I love my teammates, I love our defense and I care about everybody and they care about me and it's really special."
"It's cool, it's not some obscure baseball stat like most safeties or something like that," Bobby Hauck added. "It's a significant record, number of tackles. When you look at the top 10 in school history it's kind of the who's who in Grizzly football and Griz defense, and good for him. He's a guy that makes a lot of plays for us. We're all happy for him."
But the day didn't end there for Hauck.
The ending of the second quarter moved glacially as Portland State attempted to score. A false start made it so the Vikings were forced to attempt a 54-yard field goal, so the Grizzlies made an adjustment and sent Robby Hauck back to return the kick if it was short.
After initially fumbling the reception, Hauck scooped it up at the 1-yard line, and away he went, 99 yards for the score to send UM into half up 39-14.
"That's the first time I've ever scored in college," Hauck said. "I was close last year. That touchdown was pretty cool. I don't know if it'll ever happen again but I'll remember that one."
Those moments for Hauck headlined a complete day for the Grizzlies to begin conference play.
The offense clicked from the start, with Lucas Johnson scoring on a keeper on UM's first drive of the game. Johnson went a perfect 14 for 14 on passes in the first half.
Even when Portland State got within 17-14, the Griz responded immediately with a 64-yard burst from Xavier Harris to swing momentum back to UM's side.
"We really didn't think we should've given up that touchdown (to make it 17-14) and I think everybody is pretty pissed frankly and it was good that the offense went out and took charge there," Bobby Hauck said. "Nice to finish in the end zone. When you run the ball you can control the game and we ran it pretty well today."
Special teams came up big as well, and with the game tied 7-7 early in the first quarter, Junior Bergen broke free on a punt return to give the Griz the lead for good.
He's had a few close calls before, but on Saturday, Bergen took advantage of his opening.
"It was pretty cool. Got to the end zone, kind of celebrated with my teammates," Bergen said. "I felt a little bit of relief after messing up that kickoff return (at the start of the game) so felt like I had to get it back one way or another."
Johnson completed all of his passes in the first half and found Mitch Roberts and Aaron Fontes for touchdowns in the game, while UM's defense held Portland State to under 200 yards total for the game.
With records falling and a complete performance on Saturday, the Grizzlies couldn't ask for a better start to league play.