Photo Gallery: The Big Show is Back in Town

By AUSTIN SMITH

Despite freshman leadership and a new head coach, the Montana Grizzlies triumphed 35-24 over the South Dakota Coyotes in their season opener Saturday afternoon.

The Griz were up 16-10 at halftime thanks to Cam Warren’s shimmy-shake for a 17-yard touchdown.  The Coyotes mounted a third-quarter comeback after Peter Nguyen’s muffed punt return gave them possession in the red zone, ultimately turning the tables to lead the Griz 24-16.

As the third wound down, freshman quarterback and Player of the Game Trent McKinney set Washington-Grizzly Stadium ablaze.  The Griz had enjoyed moderate success with the screen pass throughout the first half, but were repeatedly snubbed in the first few minutes of the third quarter.   With 7 minutes left, McKinney tossed a neat screen to tight end Greg Hardy, who then turned upfield and launched a 39-yard touchdown bomb to Bryce Carver.

A failed 2-point conversion still left the Griz within biting distance, 24-22.  Senior running back standout Dan Moore scored on an untouched 13-yard sprint following a South Dakota punt.  The Coyotes struggled to regain their feet, but as the clock wound down the Griz forced a fumble and Jordan Canada was able to make it across the goal line,  setting the final score of 35-24.

Saturday’s game introduced to Missoula a Griz team packed with potential.  Trick plays were executed with a veteran level of control, and composure was maintained even in the face of ill-timed turnovers and questionable refereeing.  A University of Montana school record was also set when the boys tallied 34 first downs in one game.

Next week’s game will be away at Appalachian State, but the Grizzlies will return for the Hall of Fame game against Liberty on September 15.

 

Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Monte takes a run at the goalpost.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Monte takes a run at...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Defense celebrates after forcing a fumble late in the game.  Dan Moore would score shortly after.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Defense celebrates a...
Pre-game, Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Pre-game, Washington...
UM's Josh Harris gets physical on the line.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
UM's Josh Harri...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
UM's Peter Nguyen breaks free up the left sideline...
UM's Peter Nguy...
...and is brought down in South Dakota territory.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
...and is brought do...
South Dakota's Tyler Wilhelm is tackled by UM's Josh Stuberg.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
South Dakota's ...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
UM's Greg Hardy fights for extra yardage and gives South Dakota's Ryan Hillier (l) a little love tap in the process.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
UM's Greg Hardy...
Dan Moore puts his head down, Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Dan Moore puts his h...
The boys are back in town.  UM's
The boys are back in...
Jordan Tripp at the snap.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Jordan Tripp at the ...
Peter Nguyen, Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Peter Nguyen, Washin...
UM's Bryce Carver sails into the endzone untouched after a 39-yard trick pass from UM tight end Greg Hardy.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
UM's Bryce Carv...
Dan Moore celebrates with Carver after the trick play touchdown.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Dan Moore celebrates...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Mo' dancin'.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Mo' dancin'...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...
McKinney proved his toughness Saturday, shown here after a face-to-face collision with South Dakota's Drew Iddings.  Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
McKinney proved his ...
Washington - Grizzly Stadium, Montana Grizzlies vs. South Dakota Coyotes.  Missoula, MT, September 1st, 2012.
Washington - Grizzly...

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Austin Smith in a tie

Austin Smith is a 21-year resident of the Missoula area, and an ardent fisherman, hunter, and snowboarder. When not working on the University of Montana campus, taking classes in the Journalism program, or contributing to the social media efforts of several local organizations, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his Akita and his family.