Montana 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Montana Grizzlies
Big Sky


It has been a dozen years since Montana won the national championship. Since then the Grizzlies have made a few great playoff runs, including three losses in the title game. Once again Montana has the tools to make a big run, but this is still not the dominate Montana squad of four or five years ago. The Grizzlies have beaten the teams they should beat, but that is not going to cut it in the playoffs.

2013 Record: 10-2, 6-2
Coach: Mike Delaney

Big Wins: 10/19 Cal Poly (21-14), 11/23 at Montana State (28-14)
Bad Losses: 9/28 at Northern Arizona (16-34), 10/26 Eastern Washington (37-42)

The Grizzlies offense is not nearly as explosive as some other teams in the Big Sky. Quarterback Jordan Johnson did throw for 28 touchdowns while totaling just four interceptions. Johnson does not make many mistakes, but his pass completion percentage could be better. But it is certainly better to throw an incomplete pass than an interception. Ellis Henderson, a 6-0 sophomore, has emerged as the Grizzlies top receiver. He averages about 25 yards per catch and is always a threat to find the end zone. Cam Warren and Jamaal Jones are the other top receivers for Montana. Jordan Canada stepped into a starting role this year and has rushed for 958 yards and 16 touchdowns. Travon Van and freshman John Nguyen are capable change of pace backs. However, it is the big plays of the defense that often sets up the offense. Montana has forced 16 interceptions and recovered 15 fumbles. Zack Wagenmann spends plenty of time in the backfield and Brock Coyle, Matt Hermanson, Jordan Tripp and John Kanongata’a are all big hitters, while Tripp, Nate Harris and Bo Tully combined for nine of the team’s interceptions.

In Montana’s loss to Northern Arizona, the Grizzlies lost the turnover battle. The defense is talented, but they do take risks. When those risks do not pay off, they will give up quite a few yards. That is especially true through the air. In Montana’s loss to Eastern Washington, they allowed 457 yards and six passing touchdowns. That one game certainly inflated the overall numbers, but there are going to be other potent passing offenses that Montana has to get past in the playoffs.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jordan Canada, RB, 958 yards
Passing: Jordan Johnson, QB, 2,999 yards
Receiving: Ellis Henderson, WR, 889 yards
Tackles: Brock Coyle, LB, 113
Sacks: Zack Wagenmann, DE, 7.5
Interceptions: Nate Harris, CB, 3; Jordan Tripp, LB, 3; Bo Tully, S, 3

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 193.0 (33rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 258.6 (25, 6)
Total Offense: 451.6 (17, 3)
Scoring Offense: 38.8 (11, 2)
Rushing Defense: 134.3 (31, 3)
Pass Defense: 248.0 (98, 9)
Total Defense: 382.3 (60, 5)
Scoring Defense: 22.0 (21, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.5 (2, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (57, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.45 (36, 4)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
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 11/16


Playoff Central