By Mick Holien
The Grizzlies rid themselves road collar Saturday in picking up a pivotal road win that atoned somewhat for last week’s home loss to Eastern Washington.
The Grizzlies had lost the entire league road ledger the last two years and had not won a league rod game since defeating Montana State in 2015.
The last overall Griz road win was in 2016 against then No 4 Northern Iowa.
The Eagles, along with Northern Arizona and Weber State pace the Big Sky Conference with a pair or opening circuit victories and on the positive side Montana has NAU and Weber on its remaining schedule.
Back from an injury causing him to miss the first week and still wearing a half cast safety Justin Strong hauled in a no-doubt record setting three picks and intercepted a fourth attempted two-point conversion which he took to the house at a pivotal time of the game.
And for the first time this season the offense played a complete game up-tempo which Gresch Jensen seemed to enjoy while running it to near perfection.
The Bobcats ran into a buzz saw in Ogden and fell for the second straight league week as did upstart Idaho State, defeated by Cal Poly in a tight one.
Meanwhile Gabe Gubrud lit the scoreboard overlooking the red field for 52 points in a 22 point victory over Sacramento State by connecting for 549 yards on 35 of 60.
Elsewhere of interest are the Aztecs of San Diego State who enhanced their poll position by winning a fifth straight without defeat..
Former Griz coach Bobby Hauck is the Aztecs associate head coach and special teams coach.
Moving from 21st to 19th in last week’s AP poll in a game completed after Saturday midnight defeated Northern Illinois in California by six.
NIU Coach Rod Perry said after talking to the player who stuck his finger in a San Diego Stake players eyes, he is convinced it was not purposeful.
But it sure served to fire up the San Diego state contingent.
SDS is off to its best start since 1975 when they opened 8 and 0 then closed with three losses.
Saturday Montana travels to Pocatello to face Idaho State which is coached by former Griz offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie.