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
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
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
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
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
"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,"
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."