FACTS & STATS: Site: Washington-Grizzly Stadium (25,217) — Missoula, Montana.
Surface: Sprinturf. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Jim Barbar, Jay Walker.
Home Record: San Diego 6-1; Montana 6-0. Away Record: San Diego 3-1; Montana
2-4. Series Record: San Diego (1-0). Last Meeting: November 22, 1958 (San
Diego, 24-13 at San Diego). Conference: San Diego – Pioneer League; Montana –
Big Sky. Nicknames: San Diego Toreros; Montana Grizzlies. Head Coaches: San
Diego – Dale Lindsey (2nd season, 17-5 at San Diego and overall); Montana –
Mick Delaney (3rd season, 23-13 at Montana and overall). Playoff Records: San
Diego (0-0); Montana (32-19). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: San Diego 0
(None); Montana 22 (1982, 1988-89, 1993-2009, 2011, 2013). Current Playoff
Streak: San Diego is making its first FCS playoff appearance; Montana has lost
its last two FCS playoff games.
GAME NOTES: San Diego, from the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, has
nothing to lose in its first-ever FCS playoff game. Few people outside the
Toreros’ program probably expect them to win at national power Montana, which
is appearing in the playoffs for a record 23rd season.
Last year’s first PFL playoff team (Butler) was shut out at home. Plus, in an
ominous barometer, USD just had an eight-game winning streak snapped at home by
another Big Sky team, Cal Poly, 34-3.
Like Cal Poly, Montana will look to run the ball on the Toreros. Workhorse
Jordan Canada (1,011 yards, nine TDs) has raised his play recently and combines
with the speedy San Diego native Travon Van in a nice 1-2 combination (Van also
lines up at wide receiver). Fifth-year quarterback Jordan Johnson, though
recently hobbled by an ankle injury, is used to playing in the big games, and
he will work behind an offensive line that will be bigger and likely better
than USD’s defensive line. The Grizzlies’ plus-16 turnover margin leads the
On defense, Montana will unleash pass rushers Zach Wagenmann (13.5 sacks) and
Tyrone Holmes (6.5 sacks) on Toreros quarterback Keith Williams, who will try
to seek safe throws to wideouts Brandon White and Reggie Bell.
Running back Jonah Hodges (1,194 yards) has emerged as USD’s all-purpose threat
and he will need to eat up yards in different ways to keep the Toreros in the
game. When they get to the red zone, they have scoring on 90.2 percent of their
The winner will head to the red turf at No. 4 seed Eastern Washington for a
second-round game on Dec. 6.
PREDICTION: San Diego won the only previous at home in 1958. But the Toreros
won’t find it sunny and 75 in Missoula. Snow is in the forecast. Montana, 37-7.