MISSOULA — Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed was named the Big Sky Conference newcomer of the year and linebacker Dante Olson made the All-Big Sky first team, highlighting the 11 Griz players who received postseason recognition from the league.
Sneed, who transferred from UNLV, ranked second in the conference with 3,398 yards of total offense. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound junior from Scottsdale, Arizona, completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 2,723 yards and 22 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He ran for a team-high 675 yards and six touchdowns, the second most on the team.
"All because of the great coaching and teammates I have around me," Sneed wrote in a Twitter post about being named the newcomer of the year.
Olson ended the year with 151 total tackles, the most in the FCS or FBS. The 6-foot-3, 237-pound junior from Medford, Oregon, ranked second in the league with three forced fumbles, fourth with six sacks and eighth with 11 tackles for loss.
Olson is also one of 25 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the top defensive player in the FCS.
Four Grizzlies made the All-Big Sky second team: wide receiver Sammy Akem, linebacker Josh Buss, Jerry Louie-McGee as a return specialist and Jace Lewis as a special teams player. Akem led the conference and was sixth in the country with 13 receiving touchdowns, but he was fifth in the league with 79.9 receiving yards per game, 34.6 behind the Big Sky leader.
Buss, who was coming off an injury, finished second in the conference with three forced fumbles, fourth with two fumble recoveries, sixth with 5.5 sacks, 14th with nine tackles for loss and 19th with 75 total tackles.
Defensive end Jesse Sims was Montana's lone All-Big Sky third team selection. The Stevensville native and Corvallis grad tallied 42 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
The Griz placed six players on the all-conference honorable mention list. Sneed made it as a quarterback, and Louie-McGee was selected as a wide receiver. The four others are kicker Tim Semenza, defensive tackle David Shaw, defensive end Reggie Tilleman and safety Robby Hauck.
Hauck is also one of 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award, presented annually to the top freshman player in the FCS.
Only three of Montana's 11 all-conference honorees are seniors, meaning eight are expected to return next season. The Griz finished the season 6-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play.