MISSOULA – Jeremy Calhoun’s three touchdowns kick-started a record runaway for the Montana Grizzlies Saturday en route to a 68-7Big Sky Conference thrashing of Sacramento State.
Calhoun had touchdown runs of 32 and 23 yards in the first quarter as Montana (5-1, 2-1) took command.
And then the offense exploded.
Brady Gustafson threw four touchdown passes in the second quarter, including a 10-yard strike to Calhoun, as the lead grew to 41-0.
By the end of the third quarter Montana had run up 128 straight points, dating to a 67-7 win over Mississippi State. A 78-yard interception return by Justin Strong put Montana up 61-0 at the 2:26 mark.
Sacramento State (1-6, 1-3) could do little to stop the Grizzlies, who marked the first back-to-back 60-point games in program history.
“You’d like to get used to this, and you’d like to go into every game and feel like the week before and score 60,” Montana coach Bob Stitt said. “A lot of this is the kids are executing very, very well and the quarterback’s finding the weakness in the defense and getting the ball where it needs to go.”
Gustafson was 28 of 35 passing for 246 yards, adding scoring strikes to Keenan Curran, Colin Bingham and Josh Horner. The check-down to Bingham covered 26 yards and made it 35-0.
“Well, the quarterback makes the whole thing go,” Sacramento State coach Jody Sears said. “He puts the ball where it needs to be. He had some really nice throws.
“At the end of the day our job as coaches is to put our kids in position to make plays. We didn’t make enough of them, obviously.”
Montana pulled most of its starters after one series in the second half. John Nguyen tore off an 81-yard touchdown run, the longest in school history, on the first play.
Nguyen ran for 116 yards on just seven carries, while Montana piled up 655 yards of offense.
Quincy Jountti got Sacramento State (1-6, 1-3) on the board with a 36-yard scamper with 4:46 left in the game.
Montana answered with a short pass from Chad Chalich that Joey Counts turned into a 60-yard touchdown with 1:31 remaining.
Chalich, who threw for 172 yards in relief of Gustafson, also fed a 4-yard scoring pass to Caleb Lyons in the third quarter.
The Hornets missed chances to score at the end of the first half, when a field goal was blocked by Montana’s Caleb Kidder, and in the third quarter, when they turned it over on downs at the Grizzlies’ 6-yard line.
“The defensive staff puts together an unbelievable game plan for these guys and then they go out and execute it to a T,” said Stitt, whose club came up six sacks and a fumble on special teams. “Offensively, I thought we were pretty sharp.”
Calhoun ran for 62 yards. Bingham had five catches for 77 yards for Montana.
SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets misfired early and racked up 136 penalty yards and surrendered five sacks.
MONTANA: The Grizzlies, ranked No. 10 in the Football Championship Subdivision, mixed Jeremy Calhoun’s eighth and ninth touchdown runs of the season with a surgical passing game to pile up 655 yards.
SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets stay on the road, playing at Northern Colorado.
MONTANA: The Grizzlies take to the road to face Northern Arizona.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.