DAVIS, Calif. — The key players and position grades from Montana's 45-20 win over UC Davis on Saturday.
Montana opened the second half by scoring 21 points in just over six minutes to turn a 17-7 advantage into a 38-7 lead it wouldn't relinquish in a 45-20 victory to start Big Sky Conference play.
Montana players of the game
Offense: Dalton Sneed. The 6-foot-1, 216-pound senior quarterback from Scottsdale, Arizona, completed 22 of 33 passes for 268 yards with five touchdowns. He tallied another 81 yards on the ground, running 10 times.
Defense: Ryder Rice. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior hybrid defensive end/linebacker from Savage recovered one fumble and forced another. Montana converted both of those turnovers into touchdowns.
Special teams: Adam Wilson. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior kicker from San Diego, California, helped Montana win the field position battle with his leg. He placed all of his three punts inside UC Davis' 8-yard line, averaging 42 yards.
Dalton Sneed executed the run-pass option to a high level. He threw for 268 yards and ran for 81 yards. His five touchdown passes tied his career high and give him 35 total for his career, 10th most in Montana history.
Running backs/Fullbacks: A
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Junior college transfer Marcus Knight ran for 91 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries, with a long of 24 yards. True freshman Nick Ostmo ran four times for 28 yards and caught two passes for 20 yards. Drew Turner had a 48-yard run.
Wide receivers/Tight ends: A-
Six wide receivers and tight ends caught at least one pass. Sammy Akem had a team-high 97 yards and one score. Samori Toure had 67 yards and one score. Jerry Louie-McGee caught two scores. Bryson Deming had one TD.
Offensive line: A-
Montana's offensive line came to play and didn't appear intimidated by UC Davis. It paved the way for 260 rushing yards, 6.0 per carry, and didn't surrender a sack in 76 plays. UC Davis did tally three tackles for loss.
Defensive line: B+
Montana didn't blitz as much as it had in the past, but the Griz found their way to QB Jake Maier. Eli Alford and Jacob McGourin each got one sack. The defense limited UC Davis to 60 rushing yards on 31 carries, an average of 1.9.
Jace Lewis led all players with 13 tackles, had two of Montana's three QB hurries and had one breakup. Dante Olson added eight tackles and one INT. Ryder Rice forced one fumble and recovered another. Patrick O'Connell sack.
Defensive backs: B+
Montana held Maier to 275 yards with 3 TDs, slightly lower than his average of 308.3. Josh Sandry, Gavin Robertson, Justin Calhoun and Dareon Nash each broke up one pass. Sandry had a TFL. Robby Hauck totaled 10 tackles.
Special teams: B
Adam Wilson placed all three punts inside the 8-yard line. Brandon Purdy made a 21-yard field goal and all five PATs. Jerry Louie-McGee returned one punt for 0 yards. Malik Flowers ran back two kickoffs for 39 yards. Running into punter penalty led to UC Davis TD.