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No. 3 Montana Grizzlies look to finish strong heading into bye week with road game at Idaho State

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Posted at 8:15 PM, Sep 30, 2022

POCATELLO, ID. — After their conference-opening win over Portland State, the No. 3 Montana Grizzlies now get set for their second road game of the season.

That trip will take them to Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho, on Saturday when the Grizzlies get set to take on the Idaho State Bengals for the first time since 2019.

ISU comes into the game 0-4 with two losses to FBS teams, a loss to Central Arkansas and last week's defeat at the hands of Northern Colorado to open league play.

The third-ranked Grizzlies (4-0, 1-0 Big Sky) enter as heavy favorites, and for Montana, it's about not slipping up.

"Offense, defense, everyone's doing a lot of the same things," Montana head coach Bobby Hauck said. "I don't know what it is but I'm sure we'll be favored in the game, and we got to be aware that there are a lot of people favored in games this year that have gotten beat. We aren't going to get caught up in all of that so we're going to be prepared like we always are, go down there, try to win the week and try to get to 2-0 (in league play)."

The Grizzlies win over Portland State was convincing, the but start to the game left plenty to be desired.

But despite allowing the Vikings to lead and get within three points in the second quarter, UM's defense adjusted at halftime, and got back on track.

"In the locker room, we were talking about we weren't tackling very great in the first half," UM senior defensive tackle Eli Alford said. "So I feel like that was the main emphasis for the second half (against PSU) and just playing our game and doing what we do, quite a few mistakes but just had to limit those in the second half and I feel like we did that a little bit."

Offensively, the groove continues with Lucas Johnson under center, plus the Griz running backs are coming off of their best performance, with Xavier Harris churning out 92 yards on the ground, the most of any player this year, plus that unit's longest touchdown of the season with a 64-yard score.

The regular season is almost halfway over, and the Grizzlies aim to continue to improve and grow on their 4-0 start as they head into next week's bye.

"We practice hard, we attend to detail," Hauck said of the team's improvement. "When it's the right time of the year to be able to do it, we work hard on the fundamentals, so when you combine those things with the fact that I think our guys are smart, they play hard, they're good, I think that that adds up to us having success."