Photo Gallery: Griz 2012 Homecoming vs. NAU Lumberjacks

By AUSTIN SMITH

Despite a high-scoring first half, the Grizzlies’ Homecoming and 2012 Big Sky Conference opener was spoiled to the tune of a 41-31 loss at the hands of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.

NAU’s standout running back Zach Bauman scored a touchdown on the initial Lumberjack play following kickoff, the first of his three trips to the endzone and a hefty kickstart to his career-high 253-yard rushing tally.

The Griz were able to rally after a beautiful keeper from McKinney and a brutally powerful run by Dan Moore; the hit he laid on NAU’s Lucy Dozier was not only bone crunching but could be heard from space.

Despite their efforts problems arose for the Grizzlies as the second quarter wound down. NAU scored with ten minutes left to make it 24-14, and on the ensuing drive Dan Moore lost his grip for a rare but crucial fumble.

Bienemann and his heavy hitters were able to keep the Jacks at bay until halftime, but the Griz offense started the third quarter with another turnover, a trend that would continue to the final whistle.

NAU capitalized on McKinney’s mistakes from halftime onward, making it so rough for the young quarterback that Shay Smithwick-Hann replaced him mid-way through the fourth quarter. Smithwick-Hann actually threw a classy touchdown pass to wide receiver Ellis Henderson, but it was too little too late in the face of Bauman’s wheels of steel.

Saturday’s loss brings the 2012 Grizzlies to 2-2, 0-1 in conference play.  They will be at Eastern Washington State University next weekend, September 29; they will not play another home game until the October 13 matchup against Southern Utah.

 

The Montana Grizzly defense fends off Northern Arizona late in the 4th quarter.  The Lumberjacks ultimately triumphed, sending the Griz packing 41-31.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
The Montana Grizzly ...
Alex Bienemann is a powerful defensive force and a constant source of energy for the Grizzlies.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Alex Bienemann is a ...
Benny the Bull and Lil' Mo play keep away from a ball boy at Saturday's game.  Benny the Bull held the role of Monte a few years ago before he made the move to the Chicago Bulls and is a familiar sight either on the field or the basketball court.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Benny the Bull and L...
A redshirt shows his support from the student section.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
A redshirt shows his...
A pass intended for tight end Greg Hardy is broken up by NAU's Lucky Dozier.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
A pass intended for ...
Trent McKinney crosses the goal line for his first touchdown of the day.  McKinney struggled to pass effectively but was a serious threat on the ground during Saturday's game.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Trent McKinney cross...
Montana Grizzlies Sam Gratton (8) and Chris Lider (87) successfully kick a field goal following a 2nd quarter touchdown.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Montana Grizzlies Sa...
After catching a mid-range pass Montana's Sam Gratton attempts to get past NAU's Lucky Dozier.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
After catching a mid...
Homecoming - _MG_8765.jpg
Homecoming - _MG_876...
Montana's Dan Moore powers into the endzone early in the 2nd quarter, trucking his way past NAU's Lucky Dozier to make the score 24-7.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Montana's Dan M...
A UM student doubles as a barbell after Dan Moore's 24-7 touchdown in the 2nd quarter.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
A UM student doubles...
UM students dance to a Grizzly favorite, "Cotton Eye Joe", late in the 3rd quarter.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
UM students dance to...
Brad Shaw puts on his serious face in the redshirt corner of the student section.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Brad Shaw puts on hi...
Trent McKinney moments before throwing an interception mid-way through the 2nd quarter.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Trent McKinney momen...
Grizzlies Bo Tully (30) and Sean Murray (3) break up a pass for NAU's Ify Umodo.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Grizzlies Bo Tully (...
Montana's Jordan Carver is held down after NAU's cornerback Devin Willis deflected the ball.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT, Sept. 22nd, 2012.
Montana's Jorda...

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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.