MISSOULA – When Josh Kealamakia’s kick sailed through the uprights at Washington-Grizzly Stadium Saturday to give Weber State at 24-21 overtime victory over Montana, Wildcats coach Jay Hill had only one thing on his mind.
“This is the first time we have won here in 28 years,” Hiill said with a big smile. “It feels great.”
Kealamakia nailed a 27-yard field goal after Montana had fumbled on its first play of overtime. Filipe Sitake pounced on Montana quarterback Makena Simis’ fumble to snuff out the Grizzlies only overtime offensive play and give Weber State (3-3, 2-1 Big Sky) its turn at the Montana 25-yard line.
“The overtime was very disappointing,” said Montana coach Bob Stitt. “We probably should have just handed the ball off, but we didn’t want to get into a field-goal kicking contest.”
Montana (3-3, 2-1) forced overtime when Simis, the Grizzlies’ third-string quarterback, connected with Ben Roberts on a 44-yard scoring play with 4:51 left in the game.
“They were worried about us taking them deep,” Roberts said. “That opened up the middle of the field.”
Kealamakia missed a 50-yard field-goal attempt with one second left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
The Wildcats opened the scoring on a 3-yard run by Eric Wilkes on their first possession of the game. Montana answered back with two first-quarter touchdowns — a 4-yard pass from Chad Chalich to Roberts and a 4-yard John Nguyen touchdown run — to take a 14-7 lead.
Weber State tied the game with 11:56 to play in the second quarter on a 15-yard scoring pass from Jadrian Clark to Cam Livingston. Cordero Dixon gave the Wildcats the lead when he picked off a Chalich pass and took it 30 yards for a touchdown to put Weber State up 21-14 at the half.
“I can’t say enough about that pick,” Hill said. “Cordero had a great week of practice.”
The Wildcats controlled the line of scrimmage most of the day, rushing for 253 yards. Wilkes led the way with 112 yards on 24 carries.
“Give our offensive line credit for creating creases,” Hill said. “And Eric Wilkes is one tough kid.”
Chalich, who was making his third start since an injury to Brady Gustafson against Liberty on Sept. 19, completed 14 of 19 passes for 136 yards before departing the game with a foot injury late in the first half. Roberts led the Grizzlies with eight catches for 115 yards.
Montana’s Kendrick Van Ackern led all defensive players with 17 tackles in the game.