Montana Grizzly Football Standouts Grab Multiple League Honors
In a conference with 12 teams, one team came away with four of the five individual honors.
Fresh off a dominating 37-7 win over arch rival Montana State and clinching the Big Sky Conference title, the spoils keep coming to the University of Montana Grizzly football team. And all are honors that are hard to dispute.
UM Sports Information Director EricTaber tells us that after winning their first conference title since 2009, the Griz dominated the 2023 All-Big Sky postseason honors, taking four of the five individual awards and 13 players earning 14 spots on one of three all-conference teams. The league made the announcements today (Tuesday).
Head Coach Bobby Hauck was named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. It was a unanimous selection as voted by his fellow conference coaches.
Tackle Alex Gubner capped another dominant regular season, being named the conference’s Defensive Most Valuable Player. "Gub" also earned a second-straight first-team all-conference award, which was also unanimous.
After leading the Griz to seven straight wins as a starter in his first season with Montana, quarterback Clifton McDowell, he of the now-famous "Battle of the Brawl" term, was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year.
And running back Eli Gillman, who posted more rushing yards than any other freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision this season, earned him the league’s Freshman of the Year award. Eli was also named to the conference second team, and is a finalist for the National Freshman of the Year award.
Other Montana first or second team or honorable mention honorees were:
Receiver Junior Bergen and offensive lineman Brandon Casey, First Team Offense.
Linebacker Braxton Hill and defensive backs Trevin Gradney and Corbin Walker, First Team Defense.
Junior Bergen and Garrett Graves, First Team Special Teams.
Other honors for the Griz went to center A.J. Forbes, linebackers Levi Janacaro and Riley Wilson, and offensive linemen Chris Walker and Journey Grimsrud.
You can see a complete list of Big Sky Conference honorees here.
Is this a Grizzly football team for the ages? Only time will tell, and that journey has to wait until the evening of December 2 to begin, when the Griz host either Delaware or Lafayette in their opening FCS playoff game.
Griz Nation, celebrate and be proud!
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Gallery Credit: Jennnifer Billock