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  • Writer's pictureHolly Malkowski

The QB Question: What Montana's Spring Game showed about its offense

By: Holly Malkowski

Missoula, MT - On a warm and sunny Missoula Friday night, the University of Montana held its annual spring football game. The maroon team took on the silver team and won 35-7. 

After the Grizzlies lost in the FCS National Championship last year, one question arose: Who will be Montana’s next quarterback? 

Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Clifton McDowell announced he signed with Temple in February before posting tweets that some people saw as a hint at a return to Montana. On Saturday, the day after Montana’s spring game, he announced his commitment to McNeese State University. After the first few games of last season, McDowell cemented himself as the starter for Montana. Now, the team is seeing who will step up to take that role.

All five Griz quarterbacks saw nearly equal playing time. Sam Vidlak, a transfer student from Boise State University who was fighting for a chance to be the Griz quarterback early last season, got some plays. Keali’i Ah Yat, who played in five games this past season, including a showing at the National Championship, also had an opportunity to show off. 

Kaden Huot, a sophomore from Helena, MT, got playing time at QB along with freshman Gage Sliter and junior Logan Fife, a Fresno State transfer student. There was no clear indication of who would play in the fall. 

One thing the Grizzlies don’t have to worry about is running backs. The team is returning FCS Freshman of the Year Eli Gillman, who was a major force for the Grizzlies with 968 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Nick Ostmo and Xavier Harris are also coming back, joined by Arizona transfer Stevie Rocker Jr., who ran for 74 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. Asher Croy, a junior from Bozeman who is rostered as a linebacker, ran for 51 years as a running back in the spring game. Sophomore Beau Dantic contributed a touchdown from the ground as well. 

The Griz finished 13-2 last season with a 7-1 conference record and finished with a trip to the National Championship. Now, the team must replace the quarterback that took it there. Montana kicks off its season on August 31 with a home game against Missouri State. 


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