The state of Montana did a whole lot of celebrating Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs. Montana State dominated Albany 47-21 and Montana rolled Southeastern Louisiana 73-28.
Check out what went down in the Montana win.
Montana 73, Southeastern Louisiana 28
Offensive Player of the Game: Samori Toure, WR, Montana | 12 receptions for a school and FCS playoff record 303 yards and 3 touchdowns
Defensive Player of the Game: Dante Olson, LB, Montana | 13 total tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 2 pass break-ups
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Dalton Sneed, QB, Montana | 29-45 passing for career-high 459 yards and 5 touchdowns
Marcus Knight, RB, Montana | 75 yards on 16 rushes (4.7 yards per carry), 3 rushing touchdowns to set school record for touchdown runs in single season (23), 2 receptions for 18 yards and 1 touchdown
Corbin Walker, CB, Montana | 1 interception returned for 47-yard pick-six, 1 pass break-up
Chason Virgil, QB, Southeastern Louisiana | 36-59 passing for 436 yards and 4 touchdowns
Javon Conner, WR, Southeastern Louisiana | 9 receptions for team-high 155 yards and 2 touchdowns
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THE TURNING POINT
With 2:11 remaining in the first half and trailing 24-7, Southeastern Louisiana’s Third Team All-Southland signal-caller Chason Virgil found Bransen Schwebel for a 12-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10 to close the deficit to 24-14. Montana had an immediate answer on the ensuing kickoff, however, as Malik Flowers escaped for an 81-yard touchdown for the Griz to retake control at a 31-14 advantage. When Virgil struck again to once again narrow the lead to 10 with 1:17 before halftime by way of a 52-yard touchdown pass to Javon Conner, Montana had another return punch in store.
Dalton Sneed connected with tailback Marcus Knight on a 7-yard touchdown toss just before the half to cap a 1:03, 71-yard drive and balloon the intermission score to 38-21 in favor of the sixth-seeded Grizzlies. It became somewhat apparent at this stage that SLU, coming off a dramatic 45-44 shootout win over Villanova, might have difficulty keeping pace with the rested Griz after making the cross-country trek from Hammond to Missoula. The Lions might not have been shying away from a high-scoring affair going into the matchup, but 1,089 yards of total offense between the teams is probably not the kind of track meet they wanted to get themselves in on the road.
After a relatively mild first quarter that saw Montana overtake Southeastern Louisiana’s initial 7-0 lead for a 10-7 advantage, the throng of 16,550 in attendance at chilly Washington-Grizzly Stadium and ESPN3’s national audience got the high-scoring affair that was expected in a tilt between two of the most potent offenses that the Southland and Big Sky conferences had to offer in 2019.
It was the home-cooking Grizzlies, however, who pulled away in their first playoff game since 2015. Montana erupted for a combined 48 points in the second and third quarters, outscoring SLU by 27 in that window. Along the way, the Griz racked up a whopping 600 yards of total offense and recorded 30 first downs, converting both of their fourth-down attempts. Montana’s jaw-dropping 73 points were its most since a 73-2 dismantling of Division II Western Colorado in 2010.
“It starts up front. I know Samori (Toure) got that record today, and we’re sitting here talking about how many yards I passed for, but zero sacks is the highlight of the day for me, and that’s because of the offensive line and the job that they did.” — Dalton Sneed, Montana quarterback
“It is surreal just because (Randy Moss has) always been my favorite receiver and my role model growing up, so that definitely means a lot to me. But right now, I’m just happy we got this first playoff win out of the way, and I’m excited to see what’s next for our team.” — Montana wide receiver Samori Toure on shattering Randy Moss’s 1996 FCS playoff record for receiving yards in a single game