2:30 PM ET, December 2, 2006
Washington Grizzly, Missoula, MT
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana held Southern Illinois to 129 yards in total offense and allowed the Salukis past midfield just twice Saturday in a 20-3 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinal victory.
"It was a pretty dominating effort by our defense, no doubt," said Montana coach Bobby Hauck, whose team has allowed just three field goals in the playoffs.
The No. 10 Salukis (9-4) had averaged 393 yards in total offense and nearly 38 points per game this season.
"For us to hold them to 129 yards was spectacular," Hauck said.
No. 2 Montana (12-1) won its 12th consecutive game and advances to the I-AA semifinals for the eighth time in school history. The Grizzlies are 5-2 in the semifinals, including a 5-0 record in home semifinal games.
Montana will meet No. 3 Massachusetts (12-1), a 24-17 winner over No. 9 New Hampshire on Saturday.
The Grizzlies will learn Sunday if the game will be played at 5:30 p.m. MDT on Friday or at 2 p.m. Saturday. Either way, it will be just the second game played under the lights at Washington Grizzly Stadium.
Arkee Whitlock, the fourth-leading rusher in the country and a Walter Payton Award finalist, was held to 80 yards on 21 carries -- 60 below his season average and his second-worst rushing performance this year.
"Nobody has stopped him all year, including Indiana State and Youngstown State," Hauck said of Whitlock, who was held to 66 yards in a 27-24 loss to Western Kentucky in October. Whitlock averaged 193 yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game in November.
"He's as good as advertised, we were just able to contain him," said Tyler Joyce, who had nine tackles.
Montana's offense drove the field easily in the first half, scoring on a 43-yard field goal by Carpenter with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
Montana's next drive covered 69 yards in 14 plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Swogger to Chambers, who caught the ball while falling in the front corner of the end zone.
"He made another great throw this week," said Chambers, who caught two TD passes in Montana's 31-6 win over McNeese State in the first round of the playoffs.
The Griz went up 13-0 on a 38-yard field goal by Carpenter with 1:52 left in the half.
Southern Illinois didn't get a first down until the 13:17 mark in the second quarter and had just 27 yards in total offense at halftime.
"Frankly, they had a six-play first quarter," Hauck said. "They didn't have a chance to test us with all their formations."
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
"They did a good job of adjusting at halftime, covering up looks that were working for us," Chambers said.
SIU got its only score on a 27-yard field goal by Craig Coffin on a fourth-and-9 from the 10 with 10:09 remaining. It was just the second time SIU had crossed midfield.
"Fourth-and-9, your averages are not very damn good of making it," coach Jerry Kill said when asked why he didn't go for a touchdown, given the situation.
Montana responded with an 8-play, 79-yard drive, capped by an 8-yard TD pass from Swogger to Chambers with 6:05 remaining.
"That last score pretty much put the nail in the coffin," Chambers said.
Hauck said the points weren't as important as the drive.
"Getting the drive and moving the ball down the field and flipping the field was big," Hauck said.
Ryan Bagley had six catches for 88 yards for Montana while Eric Allen had four of 70. Thomas Brooks-Fletcher rushed 25 times for 106 yards -- the third 100-plus yard game in the past four weeks for the redshirt freshman.
Montana's crowd reinforced the Griz defense, forcing SIU to call a time-out during its first third down play in the first quarter. Mike Murphy sacked Hill on the next play.
"You have a different crowd level here," Kill said. "I guess you'd call it education. From a coaching standpoint, it's tough."
"We got our butt kicked today," Kill said. "We got out-coached. We got out-played. Montana has a good program."
As he left the interview room, Kill told Hauck, "Make us look good. Win it all."