Toure, Lewis Named ROOT Sports Big Sky Players of the Week


For the second time this season and only the third time since 2013, two Montana Grizzlies have been named ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Players of the Week the league announced Monday, with Samori Toure and Jace Lewis each earning the first weekly honors of their career.

The pair of awards comes after Montana’s 35-16 demolition of No. 3 Weber State that improved the Grizzlies to 9-2 on the season and puts them in a position to claim UM’s first Big Sky Championship since 2009 with a 6-1 league record.

Toure was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week after gashing the previously top-ranked WSU defense for a career-high 193 receiving yards and three touchdowns to post the 13th-best single-game receiving performance in Montana history.

Lewis was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week with a game-high 16 tackles (7 solo) and one big TFL that helped hold the Wildcat rushing attack to just 1.9 yards per carry and 69 total yards on the ground.

Earlier this season on Sept. 21, Grizzly quarterback Dalton Sneed and kick returner Malik Flowers became the first Griz to double-up on weekly conference accolades since Matt Hermanson and Ellis Henderson were recognized in 2013. Surprisingly, Lewis becomes the first defensive player from Montana to win the leagues’ weekly award since Dante Olson had a three-peat in 2018.

The pair of awards brings Montana’s total to seven ROOT Sports Big Sky Player of the Week picks this season, the most the Grizzlies have had in a year since 2011.

Toure continued his torrid pace with his second three-touchdown performance in the past three games on Saturday, which were also the most of any receiver in the league on week 12, and, along with his total of 193 yards, were the most one player has posted against the defending conference champion Wildcats all year.

Toure Quick Hits:

• His 193 yards are the third-most of any receiver in the Big Sky this season but are the most totaled in a win against a D-I team.  EWU’s Dre’Sonte Dorton had 289 yards against D-II Lindenwood, and UNC’s Jaren Mitchell had 242 yards in a loss at UND.

• In the last three games Toure had caught seven touchdown passes for a combined 462 yards.

• Toure now leads the Big Sky in receiving yards with 1,052 this season the first Grizzly to pass the 1,000-yard mark since UM’s all-time leader Jamaal Jones had 1,217 yards in 2015.

• His total of 1,052 yards is also good enough to rank him No. 9 in all of FCS football in receiving yards.

• Toure hauled in a 79-yard TD pass from Dalton Sneed for one of his three scores Saturday, tied for the 11th-longest scoring pass in Grizzly history.

• With one regular-season game left to play, Toure’s 2019 receiving total is currently the eighth-best in UM history behind Scott Gurnsey’s 1993 total of 1,079 yards.

Lewis has had a breakout season at linebacker for the Griz with four double-digit tackle totals in the last seven games to bring his season total to 104 stops, the fifth-most in the Big Sky. In conference-only play he’s been even better, averaging 12 tackles per game for a total haul of 84 in UM’s 6-1 Big Sky season to date.

Lewis Quick Hits:

• His 84 conference-only tackles are third-most in the league, and second-most on the team behind Dante Olson’s 90 total stops.

• He also ranks among the Big Sky’s top-10 in sacks (3) and TFLs (6.5)

• His 16 tackles against WSU were the second-most of his career, with his personal best at 17 against Sac State earlier this season.

• With 182 career tackles, Lewis is set to break into UM’s top-40 tacklers of all-time list, which starts at 201 – Zack Wagenmann’s career total.

Montana State kicker Tristan Bailey was named the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week. The Grizzlies face the Bobcats this week in the 119th Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman. Kickoff is set for noon, and the game will be broadcast nationwide on ROOT Sports and DirecTV’s Audience Network.

2019 Montana ROOT Sports Big Sky Players of the Week
9/7      Jerry Louie-McGee
9/21    Dalton Sneed
Malik Flowers
9/28    Dalton Sneed
10/5    Dalton Sneed
11/18  Samori Toure
Jace Lewis

2019 STATS FCS National Players of the Week
9/28    Adam Wilson
10/5    Dalton Sneed