Montana 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Montana Grizzlies
Big Sky


Montana needed to beat Montana State on the final day of the regular season to reach the playoffs and they wasted no time showing their rival who was the best on that day. The Grizzlies got off to a great start and never looked back, winning 34-7. As long as the Grizzlies are at home, which will not happen for long in the playoffs, they can beat anybody. This team went 6-0 at home this season and just 2-4 on the road.

2014 Record: 8-4, 6-2
Coach: Mike Delaney

Big Wins: 11/1 Sacramento State (31-13), 11/22 Montana State (34-7)
Bad Losses: 10/25 at Cal Poly (26-36), 11/8 at Eastern Washington (26-36)

But Montana can pick up big wins on the road thanks to their stifling defense. It seems like Zack Wagenmann lives in the opposing backfield. The senior defensive end amassed 13.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles-for-loss on the year. He needs to be double teamed on a regular basis and that is when Tyrone Holmes will get you from the other end spot. With some help from the tackles and the linebackers, Wagenmann and Holmes do not make it easy for anybody to run against Montana. The secondary is more susceptible to big plays, but they also make plenty of big plays of their own. Against Montana State they picked off five passes. But the true strength of the Grizzlies is their ability to take care of the ball. Quarterback Jordan Johnson has thrown just four interceptions this season and the team as a whole has turned the ball over a mere eight times.

The defense will keep Montana in most games, but the offense is not nearly as potent as some other Montana teams of recent years. Quarterback Jordan Johnson is a smart passer, but the team ranks tenth in the Big Sky in passing offense. Johnson is not going to lose games for Montana, but he may need to start winning some games in the playoffs. Ideally, the Grizzlies can win games with their defense and running backs. Jordan Canada and Travon Van have turned into a potent 1-2 combination in the backfield. Canada is going to get most of the carries and rushed for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. But when the ground game is stifled, Montana has to break out of their game plan and put the game in Johnson’s hands and that has not always gone well.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jordan Canada, RB, 1,011 yards
Passing: Jordan Johnson, QB, 2,405 yards
Receiving: Jamaal Jones, WR, 940 yards
Tackles: Kendrick Van Ackeren, LB, 110
Sacks: Zack Wagenmann, DE, 13.5
Interceptions: Matt Hermanson, S, 6

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 160.5 (67th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 221.9 (52, 10)
Total Offense: 382.5 (60, 9)
Scoring Offense: 28.1 (56, 6)
Rushing Defense: 149.7 (36, 2)
Pass Defense: 227.2 (76, 4)
Total Defense: 376.9 (55, 2)
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (26, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.91 (7, 1)
Sacks: 3.09 (9, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.18 (20, 2)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2013    Second Round    Lost to Coastal Carolina
2011    Second Round    Defeated Central Arkansas
2011    Quarterfinals    Defeated Northern Iowa
2011    Semifinals    Lost to Sam Houston State
2009    First Round    Defeated South Dakota State
2009    Quarterfinals    Defeated Stephen F. Austin
2009    Semifinals    Defeated Appalachian State
2009    Championship    Lost to Villanova
2008    First Round    Defeated Texas State
2008    Quarterfinals    Defeated Weber State
2008    Semifinals    Defeated James Madison
2008    Championship    Lost to Richmond
2007    First Round    Lost to Wofford
2006    First Round    Defeated McNeese State
2006    Quarterfinals    Defeated Southern Illinois
2006    Semifinals    Lost to Massachusetts
2005    First Round    Lost to Cal Poly
2004    First Round    Defeated Northwestern State
2004    Quarterfinals    Defeated New Hampshire
2004    Semifinals    Defeated Sam Houston State
2004    Championship    Lost to James Madison
2003    First Round    Lost to Western Illinois
2002    First Round    Defeated Northwestern State
2002    Quarterfinals    Lost to McNeese State
2001    First Round    Defeated Northwestern State
2001    Quarterfinals    Defeated Sam Houston State
2001    Semifinals    Defeated Northern Iowa
2001    Championship    Defeated Furman
2000    First Round    Defeated Eastern Illinois
2000    Quarterfinals    Defeated Richmond
2000    Semifinals    Defeated Appalachian State
2000    Championship    Lost to Georgia Southern
1999    First Round    Lost to Youngstown State
1998    First Round    Lost to Western Illinois
1997    First Round    Lost to McNeese State
1996    First Round    Defeated Nicholls State
1996    Quarterfinals    Defeated East Tennessee State
1996    Semifinals    Defeated Troy
1996    Championship    Lost to Marshall
1995    First Round    Defeated Eastern Kentucky
1995    Quarterfinals    Defeated Georgia Southern
1995    Semifinals    Defeated Stephen F. Austin
1995    Championship    Defeated Marshall
1994    First Round    Defeated Northern Iowa
1994    Quarterfinals    Defeated McNeese State
1994    Semifinals    Lost to Youngstown State
1993    First Round    Lost to Delaware
1989    First Round    Defeated Jackson State
1989    Quarterfinals    Defeated Eastern Illinois
1989    Semifinals    Lost to Georgia Southern
1988    First Round    Lost to Idaho
1982    First Round    Lost to Idaho

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central