Griz 28, South Dakota 20 in Front of Record Crowd of 26,303 (PHOTO GALLERY)

By DAVE GUFFEY | Photos by MARK MESENKO

The University of Montana’s Jordan Canada, Jordan Johnson, and Zack Wagenmann led the way as the Grizzlies defeated the University of South Dakota Coyotes 28-20 Saturday evening in front of a Washington-Grizzly Stadium record crowd of 26,303.

Canada rushed 16 times for 114 yards, while Johnson passed for 2 touchdowns, and Wagenmann led a solid effort by the entire “D” with 3 sacks.

The Grizzlies (2-1) led the entire game, and took a 21-10 lead when Johnson tossed a 14-yard scoring pass to Jamaal Jones with 2:22 left in that stanza.

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Josh Wagenmann. UM vs USD. Photo by ©Mark Mesenk for MakeItMissoula.com

The Coyotes (1-2) trimmed UM’s lead to 21-13 early in the fourth quarter (11:18) on a 29-yard field goal by Miles Bergner.  But, the Griz regained a double-digit lead at 28-13 with 6:18 to go when halfback Travon Van broke loose for a 28-yard touchdown run.

USD got on the board with 1:50 remaining on a 31-yard TD pass from quarterback Ryan Saeger to Eric Shufford.  The Coyotes’ subsequent on-side kick went out of bounds, and back-to-back runs by Canada secured a first down for the Griz, and they ran out the clock for the victory.

Montana scored the only points of the opening quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run by halfback John Nguyen with 39 seconds to go to take a 7-0 lead.  USD cut the margin to 7-3 on a 35-yard field Goal by Bergner with 3:18 to go in the second stanza, and that’s how the first half ended.

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Travon Van. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko for MakeItMissoula.com

The Griz upped their lead to 14-3 with 11:45 to go in the third quarter on a 12-yard hook-up between Johnson and tight end Mitch Saylor.  The Coyotes countered that TD with a 2-yard run by Jasper Sanders with 7:16 left in the third quarter, but that was followed by the Johnson-to-Jones touchdown pass.

Canada rushed 16 times for those 114 yards, averaging 7.1 per attempt.  Van had 12 totes for 59 yards, while Nguyen had 6 carries for 34 yards.

Johnson was 16-of-27-0 for 127 yards and the two touchdown passes.  Jones had team-highs of 6 catches for 62 yards.

Wagenmann had 6 tackles to go with his 3 sacks.  Senior free safety Matt Hermanson and junior linebacker Kendrick Van Ackeren each had a game-high 9 tackles, and Hermanson had his second interception in the last two weeks.  UM senior tackle Trevor Rehm added 7 stops.  UM’s defense held USD’s vaunted running attack to 134 yards on 37 attempts – 3.6-yard average per rush.

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Jordan Johnson. UM vs USD. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko for MakeItMissoula.com

Johnson now has 6,143 career passing yards, moving him up to seventh on the career list, passing Marty Mornhinweg (6,083 yards, 1980-84).

Wagenmann now has 26 career sacks to move up to fifth, passing Corey Falls (24, 1993-96).  He also moved up on the career tackles for loss list to sixth with 36 TFLs, passing Trey Young (34.5, 1999-2002).

Hermanson now has 263 career tackles, passing four players to move to 20th on the all-time list.

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Photo by ©Mark Mesenko for MakeItMissoula.com

Saeger was 16-of-25-2 for 183 yards and a TD.  Tight end Aaron Ramsey led USD with 5 receptions for 76 yards, while  Jasper rushed 12 times for 74 yards and a score.  Cornerback Mike Lilly had a team-high 8 tackles for the Coyotes.

Picture3The Griz eclipsed the former WGS attendance record of 26,293, set last year in the season and home opener against Appalachian State.

Montana plays at No. 1-ranked North Dakota State, the three-time defending FCS national champion,  next Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. game in Fargo.  USD hosts Northern Arizona next Saturday.

 

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UM vs USD 09/13/14. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko | MakeItMissoula.com
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