Griz Host Portland State to Cap Spring Season

And just like that, the Montana Grizzlies’ spring season enters the home stretch as UM prepares to take on Portland State in its second and final game of April before turning all eyes on the fall of 2021.

Fresh off an impressive 59-3 win over Central Washington, the Griz now face a familiar foe in the Vikings, with a Big Sky rivalry that has been increasingly competitive in recent years.

Montana may have edged PSU in Portland 38-23 in 2019, but the Vikings are looking to invade Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday to plunder a second-straight win in Missoula after slotting a last-second field goal to give them a 22-20 win to spoil UM’s homecoming in 2018.

While the context of the matchup is different (Montana has played just one game, and this will be the first and only outing of the abbreviated spring season for Portland State), the familiarity between the two teams will keep the intensity as high as it would be in a normal fall season.
“It was fun being out there last weekend, we’re excited to play again this week, and we’re grateful to Portland State for agreeing to come play us this spring. I think it will be good for us and will be good for them as well,” said Montana head coach Bobby Hauck.

“It’s been a very competitive series between the two schools, and we’re looking forward to a great game Saturday.”

The Grizzlies and the Vikings will kick-off for the 45th time in program history at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, on a forecasted sunny day in Missoula, with high temperatures expected in the mid-to-upper-60’s.

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Athletics

SAFETY FIRST: Please visit for complete ticketing information and how COVID-19 safety protocols will affect UM’s two spring games. Tickets for the general public go on sale Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

WATCH: Fans around the state can tune in to a statewide TV broadcast, and fans worldwide can watch a live stream of Saturday’s game.

ABC Montana stations (SWX in Billings) will carry the game live Saturday, with a simulcast available on digital devices via the Watch SWX App within the state borders.

Anyone else around the world can see the game via live stream at for a nominal fee, with subscribers able to watch the game on-demand at any time.

Long-time broadcaster Ron Davis will provide the play-by-play on the broadcast, with former Grizzly QB Grady Bennett serving as analyst. Shaun Rainey will report from the sideline.

LISTEN: “Voice of the Griz” Riley Corcoran and long-time analyst Greg Sundberg will bring you the action live from Missoula on KGVO Missoula, the flagship station of the Grizzly Sports Radio Network, and its fourteen affiliates around the state. Live audio web streams can also be found at or at, or on the TuneIn app.

LAST MEETING: In the heart of Montana’s 2019 run to the FCS quarterfinals, the Grizzlies made the trip to “Washington-Grizzly Stadium West” in Hillsboro, Oregon, and held the Vikings off 38-30 in front of a Montana partisan crowd.

Quarterback Cam Humphrey wowed in his second-straight start for the Griz, connecting on 21 of his 28 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns – three of which were thrown to hometown hero Samori Toure.

The Grizzly defense also stepped up to keep a potent Portland State offense at bay, with Robby Hauck totaling 10 tackles and Jace Lewis taking three of Montana’s five sacks – harassing PSU QB Davis Alexander into throwing two interceptions as well.

“Portland State has a good returning nucleus of players, starting with the quarterback, who is one of the few returning starters in the conference,” added Hauck.

“He’s played really well against us, so we have a high regard for Davis and his abilities.”

LAST TIME IN MISSOULA: Homecoming was not so sweet for the Griz in 2018 as Portland State kicker Cody Williams (who is slated to start against Montana on Saturday) slotted a 52-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to lead the Vikings to a 22-20 win – just their third-ever in Missoula.

Alexander threw for 170 yards and rushed for one of two Viking TDs that day as Montana recovered from a 13-0 deficit at halftime with 14 third-quarter points, only to give up four fumbles in the PSU victory.

“We’re well aware that last time Portland State was here, they beat us on homecoming with a last-second field goal, which still sticks in our memory,” said Hauck.

“We also understand what Portland State is. They’re a really good football team. In my preseason conference poll I fill out next year, they’re going to be in the top three or four in the league. So, they’re a really good football team, and we better be ready to go, or we’ll be in trouble Saturday.”

Montana leads the overall series between the two schools 31-13, with UM holding a 17-4 edge in Missoula.

Portland State is also one of only three Big Sky Conference teams to beat a Hauck-led Grizzlies more than once, with Hauck holding a 7-2 all-time record over PSU.

STREAKS ALIVE: Montana’s win over CWU marked the Grizzlies’ 30th win in a home-opener at Washington-Grizzly Stadium since it opened in 1986. UM is now 30-4 in opening games at the friendly confines of WGS.

The Grizzlies’ win last week extended their streak of wins in a home-opener to 17-straight, tying them with James Madison for the fourth-longest active streak in FCS football behind Harvard (19), Central Arkansas (21), and North Dakota State (22).

1: 22 North Dakota State – 1999-2020-21
2: 21 Central Arkansas – 2000-2020
3: 19 Harvard – 2001-2019
4t: 17 Montana – 2004-2020-21
4t: 17 James Madison – 2004-2020-21
5: 16 McNeese – 2005-2020-21

Montana is now 208-33 all-time in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, a home winning percentage of .863. The Grizzlies’ all-time record is now 605-503-26, with the Grizzlies the only Big Sky Conference member to cross the 600-win threshold and one of only six teams west of the Mississippi to reach that total.

• Montana will look to keep another streak alive against Portland State this week. UM has not been shut out in a game since 1989, giving the Grizzlies now 405 games without failing to score a point. 405 games is the third-longest active streak of games without being shut out in any level of NCAA football.

Last time Montana was shut out? Notably, this week’s opponent Portland State blanked the Griz 21-0 in 1988 in Portland.

NCAA Longest Active Streaks of Games with Points (Source: STATS/Pioneer Football League)
500 – Mount Union (D-III), 1981-present
487 – Dayton (D-III/FCS), 1976-present
405 – Montana (FCS), 1988-present
397 – Florida (FBS), 1988-present

SHUT ‘EM OUT: Montana’s defense put in one of its best performances of the last decade against Central Washington, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Wildcats to less than 200 yards of total offense and just three points.

The last time the Grizzlies held an opponent to a single field goal or less was back in 2017 when UM beat Savannah State 56-3. Before that, however, you have to go all the way back to 2011 when the Griz went to Idaho State and blanked the Bengals 33-0.

FINISHING STRONG: While leading 24-3 at the break, Montana left points on the field in the first half against CWU with a missed field goal, a punt, and a turnover on downs in the first two quarters.

The Grizzly offense poured on the points in the second half, however, scoring on five-straight possessions after the break for 35 second-half points.

It continued a dominant second-half trend for the Grizzlies in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, dating back to the beginning of the 2019 season that has seen UM now win eight-straight home games by an average of 33 points each.

• In the last eight home games (starting with North Alabama in 2019), Montana has outscored its opponents 410-145, with Saturday’s win margin of 56 points against CWU the largest of any game in that timeframe.

• The numbers are even better in the second half. The Griz have won the third and fourth quarters by an astounding 242-46 in the last eight games, holding six of those teams to a single touchdown or less after the break.

• In both home and away games since the start of the 2019 season, Montana has outscored its opponents 573-354 for an average win margin of 14.6 over 15 games. In the second half the Griz have outscored all opponents 286-131 as well, winning the third and fourth quarters by an average of 10.3 points.

PUT ME IN COACH: One of Montana’s goals in any spring season is to develop players up and down the depth chart. Mission accomplished against CWU. Hauck and his staff were able to get 64 of the 96 total active players on the team roster (including true freshman) making the participation log against the Wildcats.

• 28 Grizzlies saw their first-ever game action in maroon and silver, with center AJ Forbes, fullback Trase Le Texier, guard Skyler Martin, tight end Bryson Deming, safety Nash Fouch, cornerbacks Omar Hicks Onu and Corbin Walker, linebacker Marcus Welnel, d-end Justin Belknap, and nose Eli Alford all earning their first start.

“I think you learn a lot when you go out and play games, and you see where you are both in terms of the administration of the game and the execution of the play calls, and our guys did a good job on Saturday,” said Hauck.

“Obviously, you can see the score, and a lot of guys got to play, so it was really productive for our team. We’re going to have to step it up a notch this week though.”

RECORD WATCH: With the stats from Montana’s two spring games counting toward career totals, several Grizzlies inched up Montana’s all-time record lists last week.

Robby Hauck and Jace Lewis each bumped up the all-time tacklers list, with Hauck sitting at 230 career stops and Lewis at 213.

Samuel Akem caught a TD pass and added 49 yards to his career total, passing legends Mike Trevathan and Ryan Bagley on the all-time receiving yards list. He’s also now tied with NFL Alum Jimmy Farris and Raul Pacheco with 21 career TD catches.

SCOUTING PSU: Former FCS Coach of the Year Bruce Barnum enters his sixth season at PSU in 2021, with the Vikings coming off a 5-7 season where they averaged nearly 35 points-per-game and 453 yards of total offense.

Alexander helped the Viking offense to the nation’s best time of possession in 2019, accounting for 3,445 yards of total offense in a single season, and entering Saturday’s game with 25 career starts.

All-America defensive back Anthony Adams leads a Viking defense that returns five starters from 2019. Adams led the country in passes defended in 2019 with five interceptions and a  PSU record 19 pass breakups in his sophomore season.