MISSOULA, MT – Hosting their first FCS Playoff games since 2015, the Grizzlies put on a show for their home fans, setting program and national records as they defeated Southeastern Louisiana 73-28 in the second round of the FCS Playoffs.
WR Samori Toure became the first Grizzly ever with over 300 receiving yards in a game, QB Dalton Sneed set a new career-high with 459 passing yards, and RB Marcus Knight set the new single-season program record with 23 rushing touchdowns thanks to another three-touchdown performance.
Toure also set the new FCS Playoff record for receiving yards in a single game, breaking WR Randy Moss‘ record from 1996. Knight, with a receiving touchdown as well, also reached 25 overall touchdowns on the season to break a single season Montana record set by RB Chase Reynolds in 2009.
“It was certainly an exciting day,” Montana head coach Bobby Hauck said. “It’s great to have playoff football back in Missoula, and it’s exciting for us to be back in the quarterfinals for the first time in a long time. Good job by our assistant coaches and players having a great plan and executing it and just attacking. Our group hadn’t played in a playoff game before, but they looked like veterans and handled all of that really well.”
Southeastern Louisiana actually struck first in this game when QB Chason Virgil found WR Javon Conner for a 39 yard TD pass to put the Lions up 7-0. But the Grizzlies quickly found their stride when Sneed found Toure for a 63 yard touchdown pass to tie the game up at 7. Behind most of the game, Virgil’s college football career came to a close throwing for 436 yards and 4 touchdowns, though he was intercepted late which was returned for a meaningless touchdown.
“We’re disappointed today, but I’m so proud of what our team was able to accomplish this season,” Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo said. “Our program is better for this experience and this will be key to our growth moving forward.”
Sneed finished 29-of-45 for a career-high 459 yards and five touchdowns.
“It starts up front,” Sneed said. “I know Samori 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.”
Montana will head next to Ogden, Utah on Friday night for an evening tussle with Big Sky conferencemate Weber State in the quarterfinals on ESPN2. This is a rematch of last month’s regular season game with the Wildcats, won 35-16 by the Grizzlies at home.