Missoula witnessed unforgettable night at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday, as the No. 2 seed Montana Grizzlies powered through a snow-covered showdown to dominate the Delaware Blue Hens 49-19 in the FCS playoffs’ second round. The win marked the Grizzlies’ eighth consecutive victory, propelling them into the FCS quarterfinals with an impressive 11-1 record.
The snowfall, turning the field into a winter wonderland, didn’t deter the Grizzlies as they showcased resilience and adaptability. Despite quarterback Clifton McDowell’s early interception, the Texas native rebounded, finishing the game with 10 completions on 19 attempts, 186 passing yards, two touchdowns, and a rushing score. McDowell acknowledged the challenge of playing in the snow but credited his teammates for keeping his confidence high.
Head coach Bobby Hauck commended the team’s performance in adverse conditions, emphasizing the importance of a balanced offense. The Grizzlies’ offensive line, described as long and athletic, faced challenges with footing but overcame them to contribute to the team’s 389 yards of total offense in the snowy conditions.
Key plays, including a blocked punt by Sawyer Racanelli and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Jaxon Lee, propelled the Grizzlies to a commanding lead. Despite defensive challenges posed by the weather, the team held Delaware to 5 for 16 on third down and 3 for 7 on fourth down.
Looking ahead, Montana is set to face No. 7 Furman in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the 2001 national championship game that Montana won 13-6. The team’s mature focus, commitment to execution, and camaraderie were highlighted by Coach Hauck as factors contributing to their success.
The victory over Delaware not only showcased the Grizzlies’ ability to navigate challenging weather conditions but also served as a momentum boost heading into the upcoming clash with Furman next Friday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff with national TV coverage on ESPN2.
By: Big Sky Headlines staff