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Monmouth Da'Quan Grimes courtesy

Monmouth linebacker Da'Quan Grimes tries to tackle a Lafayette player during a win earlier this season.

MISSOULA — Montana (2-1) plays its non-conference finale when it hosts Monmouth (2-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

The following are key Hawks players to keep an eye on during the game, which will be broadcast on ABC/FOX Montana.

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Quarterback: Kenji Bahar

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound fifth-year senior from Baltimore, Maryland, is on the preseason watch list for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in the FCS. Now in his fourth year as a starter, Bahar set the school single-season record with 2,769 yards of total offense last year. He’s thrown a touchdown in 21 of his last 22 games. This year, Bahar’s completed 59.8% of his passes for 226.3 yards per game with five touchdown and two interceptions. Not much of a runner, he’s picked up 76 yards and netted 44 on 16 carries, an average of 14.7 per game.

Running back/fullback: Pete Guerriero

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, has been a workhorse for Monmouth in the run game. Guerriero became the fastest player in school history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in terms of both carries (316) and games played (21). This year, he’s averaged 26.3 carries per game for an average mark of 131 yards across three games. He’s totaled 393 rushing yards and has rushed for a score in five consecutive games. In 2017, Guerriero flashed his speed when he won the MAAC outdoor track and field championship in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

Wide receiver/tight end: Lonnie Moore IV

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior from Sicklerville, New Jersey has been Bahar’s favorite target through three games. Moore leads Monmouth in all receiving categories, with 18 receptions for 239 yards, an average of 13.3 yards per catch and 79.7 per game, and two of the Hawks’ five touchdowns. He’s complemented by Terrance Greene Jr., who has 12 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Joey Aldarelli, who’s caught 16 passes for 134 yards and one score. The three of them have accounted for 524 of Monmouth’s 679 receiving yards, or 77.2% of them.

Offensive line: Mahmoud Shabana

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior left tackle from New York, New York, is Monmouth’s only returning offensive lineman who started more than six games last season. Shabana started in all 11 games in 2018 and has made 19 consecutive starts dating back to the 2017 season. He was part of an offensive line that helped lead the way for the top passing offense in the Big South and the conference’s top rusher. Fifth-year senior right guard John Gallina started in six games last season while senior left guard Manny Christian was a starter in four games.

Defensive line: Erik Massey

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior hybrid defensive end and linebacker from Teanek, New Jersey, has found his way into opposing backfields on a regular basis. Massey leads Monmouth with 3.5 tackles for loss to go with his half sack. He’s also forced one of the team’s four fumbles and has nine total tackles. Massey started all 11 games in 2018, tallying 20 tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He’s joined on the defensive line by three projected starters who’ve combined for 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry and one fumble recovery this season.

Linebacker: Da’Quan Grimes

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior weakside linebacker from Gaithersburg, Maryland, is in the midst of a breakout season. Grimes leads Monmouth with 20 tackles through three games after tallying 45 last year to finish tied for 20th in the Big South. Finding his way to the ball carrier, he’s accounted for two of the team’s four forced fumbles. Grimes has also been able to get into the backfield, tallying two tackles for loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries. Linebacker mates Evan Powell and DeJaun Cooper have combined for 25 tackles and two tackles for loss.

Cornerback/safety: Anthony Budd

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior free safety from Riverdale, Maryland, has had a strong start to the season. Budd has three of the Monmouth’s four interceptions, tied for tops in the FCS, after not having one since 2017. He’s also tied for third on the team with 14 tackles to go with one tackle for loss, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. Budd led the team last season with 7.5 tackles for loss. Senior cornerback Tymere Berry, a STATS FCS preseason third-team All-American, played only the final two series last week while dealing with a reported leg injury.

Special teams: Matt Mosquera

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior kicker from Middletown, New Jersey, is coming off a season in which he was named to the All-Big South first team. Mosquera has made six of his seven field goal attempts this season with a long of 47 yards. Last week, he kicked the game-wining field goal in overtime as Monmouth beat Albany. Mosquera has converted on five of his six extra points. He’s also handled kickoffs with an average of 52.9 yards on 16 kicks. Kickoff returner Lonnie Moore IV has averaged 25.1 yards on nine returns with a long return of 47 yards.

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Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at frank.gogola@missoulian.com.

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