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Former Montana coach Don Read, left, talks with head coach Bob Stitt after the game.

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

MISSOULA — Montana linebacker Josh Buss was blindsided by a helmet-to-helmet hit as a defenseless player against Portland State on Saturday and missed the rest of the game. 

Officials didn't call any penalty on the play — unnecessary roughness, targeting or otherwise — effectively ruling the hit legal. 

After the game on Saturday, Montana coach Bob Stitt said, "there's no part in our game for hits like that."

Stitt took time to review the video of the hit and is going to let it speak for itself. 

"What I saw was what everybody else saw," Stitt said on Monday. "Shaun (Rainey of ABC/FOX Montana) put it on Twitter. All you gotta do is watch the video. I'm not gonna comment on was the call right or wrong. Just take a look at it."

Stitt said Buss will be day-to-day heading into Saturday. 

"He actually felt all right (Sunday)," Stitt said. "We're pretty optimistic that he'll be playing Saturday."

Buss had six tackles with a tackle for loss against Portland State before leaving the game. 


Special teams woes

Stitt didn't mince words when addressing the special teams' performance on Saturday. 

"Pretty subpar," Stitt said. "Not happy with the coverage on kickoffs, kickoff returns are not any good. We gotta keep working on it. Gotta keep looking at personnel. You gotta find some guys to make a play."

Freshman Samori Toure was the only Grizzly returning kickoffs on Saturday. He had three returns for 53 yards. His longest of the day was a 19-yarder. 

Portland State kick returners had eight kickoff returns for 193 yards. Kahlil Dawson had 162 of those himself, half of which came on an 87-yard kickoff return for a TD. 

On that return, he ran through two Montana defenders and went all the way to the end zone. 

"That kick return they returned, we had a couple guys right on it and just didn't make a play," Stitt said. "Gotta keep working on it and try to find the right mix of guys.

"But special teams is something that is not great right now and we've gotta get better." 

Special teams does have one shining spot in kicker Brandon Purdy though. 

Purdy made all three of his field goals on Saturday and remains perfect on the year on field goal attempts. 

"I don't have to answer a lot of questions about kickers this year because Brandon is doing a fantastic job," Stitt said. 


Other PSU leftovers

Other than special teams, Stitt had positive things to say about most everything else on Monday.

Here are some of the players he was impressed with.

WR Josh Horner: "Horner is a dude you can always count on. Really, really solid."

Horner had four receptions for 27 yards. 

LB James Banks: "James Banks is really consistent. Every week he's so consistent. He really runs our defense."

Banks had 11 tackles, 2 1/2 of which were tackles for loss. 

Banks is currently tied for 15th in the FCS with 52 total tackles so far this season. Banks had 54 tackles all of last season. 

RB Jeremy Calhoun: "With the running backs, Jeremy Calhoun had his first 100-yard game in three years," Stitt said. "He's been such a solid player for us, scored a lot of touchdowns but never got the carries to get over 100 with John Nguyen being here."

Calhoun's 124 rushing yards were the most a Grizzly rusher has had in a game since Nguyen had 116 against Sacramento State last season. 

QB Gresch Jensen: "Gresch had a good day," Stitt said. "He'd like to have a couple of those throws back and that would have been a great day but he's getting better every single week and he's learning from all the things that happened to him in the game."

Amie Just covers Griz football for the Missoulian, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at

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