Simis Earns Accolades, Griz Move Up After UND Win


When you tie the Montana school record for touchdown passes in a single game, in your first college football start, people sit up and take notice.

As such, UM quarterback Makena Simis has been named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Offensive Co-Player of the Week following his record tying, six-touchdown performance against North Dakota that led to a clutch 42-16 win for the Grizzlies.

The College Football Performance Awards also named Simis the FCS National Performer of the Week, and he currently leads “Hero of the Week” online voting.

Simis, a sophomore from Boise, went 16-23 passing in his first-ever start for Montana, totaling 323 yards in the air. Montana wide receivers Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson were on the receiving end of four of those touchdown passes, while Ben Roberts and Josh Horner each had a TD catch as well.


Makena Simis. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko for

His two scoring passes to Henderson were for 36 and 63 yards each, while his passes to Jones totaled 74 and 22 yards. Roberts hauled in a 23-yard TD, while Josh Horner scored from 12 out.

Simis joins the illustrious company of former Griz Greats Dave Dickenson, Brian Ah Yat, and Jordan Johnson who each passed for six touchdowns in a game to set the school record.

Dickenson was the first Grizzly to throw for six TDs in 1995, when UM dismantled Boise State 54-28 en route to Montana’s first National Championship. Ah Yat threw for six TDs at Stephen F. Austin in 1998, leading to a 49-42 Griz win. Jordan Johnson was the most recent Grizzly to do it, when he threw for six against Weber State in 2011.

Simis earned Co-Player of the Week honors in the Big Sky, splitting the title with Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington, who broke two school records with 20 catches for 275 yards.


Makena Simis. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko for

Montana’s win over North Dakota also lifted the Grizzlies to No. 17 in both national weekly polls.

The Griz move up two places from No. 19 in the STATS FCS media poll with 1281 points, and UM remains one spot ahead of Montana State in the FCS Coaches’ Poll, moving up from No. 18 with 216 points.

Simis and the Grizzlies now turn their attention to the surprise of the 2015 Big Sky Conference season, Portland State for an Oct. 31 Halloween clash with the Vikings in Portland.

See Mark Mesenko’s photo gallery of Saturday’s UM vs North Dakota game.