Posted: Oct 6, 2012 4:56 PM by Scott Breen - Q2 Sports
Updated: Oct 6, 2012 5:21 PM
GREELEY, Colo. - The University of Montana's offense didn't click until the second half, but when it did Northern Colorado couldn't stop it.
Griz quarterback Trent McKinney accounted for two touchdowns and Montana's special teams defense scored another helping the Griz avoid an 0-3 conference start in a 40-17 road win. It marks Mick Delaney's first Big Sky Conference win as Montana's head coach.
Montana also did its best job of the season holding on to the football and winning the turnover battle 5-0. Entering Saturday's game, the Griz had been one of the nation's worst FCS teams in turnover ratio at minus-9.
Neither team was able to score in the opening quarter. Early in the second, Caleb Walden intercepted a desperation pass from UNC's punter who tried to throw down field after a bad snap. Walden returned it for the game's opening touchdown and a 7-0 Griz lead.
Peter Nguyn rushed 15 times for 159 yards and a touchdown. He also took a screen pass 13 yards giving Montana a 17-7 lead after UNC returned the second half opening kick for a score.
UM decided to play freshman running back Joey Counts, who had been red-shirting, late in the game with a 30 point lead. The Griz said earlier this week that they may insert Counts after Dan Moore suffered a high ankle sprain in last week's loss to Eastern Washington. Counts finished with four yards on four carries.
Montana improves to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky as it preps for next week's home game against Southern Utah. Northern Colorado drops to 1-4, 0-2.