Montana North Alabama pregame

Montana football players warm up prior to the Grizzlies' home opener against North Alabama on Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Live coverage from Washington-Grizzly Stadium as the No. 22 Montana Grizzlies host North Alabama September 7, 2019 in their home opener.

Montana wins the coin toss and defers to the second half. North Alabama receives the opening kickoff.

First quarter

North Alabama picks up takes a hit from Dante Olson and Jace Lewis but gets off the ball to Terence Humphrey, who makes an acrobatic grab and goes for 28 yards to the Grizzly 26-yard line. The Lions continue the drive when Lopez scrambles for 8 yards to the 5-yard lien for a first and goal. On the next play, Montana cornerback Dareon Nash bats away a pass intended for Dexter Boykin in the end zone, and Robby Hauck picks off the ball. The Griz, however, go three and out on the ensuing possession.

Montana forces North Alabama to go three-and-out, and Jerry Louie McGee returns the punt 33 yards before a penalty on North Alabama gives the Griz the ball at the Lions' 49-yard line with 7:33 left in the first half. Wide receiver Gabe Sulser picks up a third-and-2, rushing 17 yards on an end around to the North Alabama 24-yard line. After a pass interference on third-and-goal, running back Marcus Knights bursts up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run. PAT good by Brandon Purdy. SCORE: Montana 7, North Alabama 0, 6:03 left in the quarter.

North Alabama's K.J. Smith fumbles the ensuing kickoff and Montana tackles him at the 6-yard line. Three plays later, Lopez connects with Cortez Hall, who gets loose on a tunnel screen to the left and runs 75 yards for the touchdown. PAT good by Joe Gurley. SCORE: Montana 7, North Alabama 7, 5:00 left in the quarter.

With Montana poised to punt, former rugby payer Adam Wilson keeps the ball and runs to his left for 19 yards and the first down at the North Alabama 40-yard line. The Griz draw their second pass interference penalty on the game during the drive, and Montana kicker Brandon Purdy makes a 36-yard field goal to end the drive. SCORE: Montana 10, North Alabama 7, 1:06 left in the quarter.

End first quarter: Montana 10, North Alabama 7

Second quarter

After a North Alabama punt, Sneed keeps the ball and runs for 21 yards to the 30-yard line, lowering his shoulder on a defender, who gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. Five plays later, Sneed goes off right guard on the 1-yard line for a touchdown. 2-point run by Mitch Roberts no good. SCORE: Montana 16, North Alabama 7, 11:25 left in the half.

North Alabama gets down the the 2-yard line as Andre Little catches a tunnel screen and runs its for 35 yards as he shows his speed. Montana safety Josh Sandry came off the left defensive edge and nailed quarterback Christian Lopez on third-and-goal at the 3, forcing a fumble recovered by North Alabama. The Lions settle for a 21-yard field goal by Gurley. SCORE: Montana 16, North Alabama 10, 6:41 left in the half.

Montana attempts a 33-yard field goal, but it's a fake as Mitch Roberts pitches to Brandon Purdy, who's dropped well short. Three plays later, Lopez finds a wide-open Jakobi Byrd 64 yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown. PAT good by Joe Gurley. SCORE: Montana 17, North Alabama 16, 1:48 left in the half.

Montana races down to the 5-yard line as the first half nears its end, and Sneed trips and fumbles the ball recovered by North Alabama's Wallace Cowins at the 14-yard line. North Alabama takes a knee to run out the clock.

End first half: North Alabama 17, Montana 16

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Third quarter

Montana starts the second half with a six-play, 65-yard drive in 2:02, highlighted by a 21-yard run by Sneed and a 1-yard touchdown rush by Knight. PAT by Brandon Purdy is good. SCORE: Montana 23, North Alabama 17, 12:58 left in the quarter.

Montana safety Gavin Robertson comes up with a diving interception as Lopez targets Dexter Boykin deep down the right sideline. The Griz convert the turnover into a 47-yard field goal by Brandon Purdy. SCORE: Montana 26, North Alabama 17, 8:26 left in the quarter.

With North Alabama driving again, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Alex Gubner drops back into coverage and picks off Lopez at the Montana 46-yard line.

After an interception by Dareon Nash is overturned, Jerry Louie-McGee returns a punt 29 yards to the North Alabama 31-yard line. Two plays later, running back Marcus Knight fights through multiple tackle attempts, is spinned around and still scores on a 24-yard run. PAT is good by Brandon Purdy. SCORE: Montana 33, North Alabama 17, 4:02 left in the quarter.

Montana forces a three-and-out, and Jerry Louie-McGee returns a punt 74 yards for a touchdowns. PAT is good by Brandon Purdy. SCORE: Montana 40, North Alabama 17, 2:51 left in the quarter.

End third quarter: Montana 40, North Alabama 17

Fourth quarter

Montana adds to its lead with a seven-play, 78-yard drive. Sneed rolls right, looks back to this left and lofts a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Matt Rensvold. PAT is good by Brandon Purdy. SCORE: Montana 47, North Alabama 17, 14:16 left in the game.

The Griz push its lead even further when back quarterback Cam Humphrey connects with Nick Ostmo for a 12-yard touchdown. PAT good by Purdy. SCORE: Montana 54, North Alabama 17, 7:45 to play.

Montana padded its lead with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Drew Turner. PAT good by Gabe Peppenger. SCORE: Montana 61, North Alabama 17, 0:51 left.

Final score: Montana 61, North Alabama 17

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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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