MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- For the second consecutive weekend, the
Montana football team jumped out to an early lead, but this time
they did a better job of holding off a rally in a 52-21 victory
over Sacramento State.
Justin Green rushed for three first-quarter touchdowns and Jon
Talmage caught three scoring passes for the Grizzlies (8-2, 5-1 Big
Sky), ranked ninth in NCAA Division I-AA.
UM coach Bobby Hauck said most people associated with the I-AA
playoffs believed that beating Sacramento State would put the
Grizzlies back into the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.
If Montana beats Montana State next weekend, they share the
league title with the Eagles and earn the Big Sky's automatic
playoff berth because the Grizzlies beat Eastern Washington. If
Montana State wins, Eastern Washington will win the league crown.
Craig Ochs completed 26 of 31 passes for 300 yards and three
"Ochs made throws I think I could have caught at 45 years
old," said Sac State coach Steve Mooshagian. "Give Craig credit,
he threaded the needle. Those were NFL throws. A quarterback who
can make those kind of throws can play at the next level, because
those are the kind of throws you have to make on third downs ... 26
of 31 -- that's accuracy man."
But Ochs wasn't limited to throwing the football.
On Montana's third possession, Ochs lateralled to Jefferson
Heidelberger, who passed back to his quarterback on a 30-yard
"Coach Hauck pressures us to play our best ball in November,"
Ochs said. "From the Portland State game (a 35-32 loss) to this
week, we've really taken some steps forward. I'm as healthy as I've
been since I've been in the state of Montana," the Colorado
Matt Lebsock intercepted Ryan Leadingham on Sacramento State's
first play from scrimmage following a 1-yard TD run by Green.
"You can't start out with turnovers and penalties and get
behind 28-0 to a team like that," Mooshagian said. "In the
second, third and fourth quarters we were competitive, but the
damage was done. They took advantage of every one of our miscues."
Montana scored on its first six possessions, before missing a
field goal just before halftime. The Grizzlies then scored on their
first two possessions of the second half in beating Sac State (3-7,
2-5) for a 10th straight year.
Ochs's third TD to Talmage was a 38-yard pass with 6:38 left in
the third quarter that gave the Grizzlies a 52-7 lead.
"We talked at halftime about coming out and putting points up
and finishing them off, and we did," Hauck said. "We thought at
that point the game was out of reach. We played darn near every guy
who suited up."
Leadingham passed for 128 yards and two touchdowns for Sac
State, but was intercepted three times and sacked four times.
Leadingham had a 7-yard TD pass to Phillip Perry with 5:27 left in
the third and an 11-yard TD pass to Fred Amey with 9:18 remaining.
Ryan Mole rushed for 176 yards and a 2-yard TD run early in the
second quarter that pulled the Hornets within 28-7.
Amey caught eight passes for 108 yards and set a Big Sky record
with 3,906 receiving yards in his career. The old mark was 3,847
set by Kasey Dunn of Idaho from 1988-91.
"Records are nice to look at," Amey said. "But right now
records don't mean much. I'm more concerned with us not winning
Montana's Dan Carpenter kicked a 36-yard field goal in the
second quarter and five extra points.
Green rushed for 66 yards, Talmage caught five passes for 85
yards and Montana forced five Hornet turnovers. Torrey Thomas,
Shane MacIntyre and Tuff Harris also had interceptions for the