October 20, 2008

Football Set To Host No. 5 Montana

Complete Notes 

Game #7 Information

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kickoff: 12:05 p.m.

Location: Greeley, Colo.

Stadium: Nottingham Field

Capacity: 8,500

Series: UM, 7-1

Last Meeting: Oct. 20, 2007, UM 52-7

Promotion: AFCA Coach To Cure MD

Radio: Northern Colorado Radio Network

     Greeley: 1310 KFKA

     Troy Coverdale, play-by-play

     Anders Nelson, color analyst

Video Streaming: www.bigskytv.org


     Northern Colorado will face a nationally ranked team for the second week in a row as they host the Montana Grizzlies on Saturday... Montana is currently ranked eighth by the Sports Network and fifth in the FCS Coaches poll... Also for the second straight week, the game pits the reigning offensive player of the week against the defensive player of the week in the Big Sky... Montana quarterback Cole Bergquist earned offensive honors, while senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento earned co-defensive honors for their performances last Saturday... The Bears have lost four games against FCS opponents this season by a combined 17 points and are currently in a tie for fifth place in the Big Sky Conference standings at 1-2, while Montana is in third at 2-1... Saturday will be AFCA Coach To Cure MD. The coaches will wear an arm band to show support and raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The Matchup

     The Bears are just 1-7 all-time against the historically dominant member of the Big Sky Conference. The series started in 1976 with the lone NC win coming in that first contest. In the last four meetings, Montana has been ranked among the top 10 each time, as they were ranked third, second in 2006, seventh in 2004 and first in 2002. All time, NC is 0-5 in Missoula and 1-2 in Greeley.

     2007:  Missoula L, 7-52                        1979:       Greeley           L, 10-20

     2006:  Greeley   L, 21-53                      1978:       Missoula         L, 14-31

     2004:  Missoula L, 16-27                      1977:       Missoula         L, 13-34

     2002:  Missoula L, 14-31                      1976:       Greeley           W, 27-19

Last Meeting

     Last year, the Bears were defeated 52-7 by third-ranked Montana at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Running back DC Wilson led the team with nine carries for 50 yards, while tight end Clint Wright caught three passes for 46 yards, including one touchdown reception for a career-long 31 yard gain. Defensively, linebacker Cristian Sarmento led the game with a then-career-high 17 tackles, while linebacker Joe Kenney and safety Max Hewitt each chipped in 10. Hewitt also added a career-best 73 yard interception return. Montana was led offensively by senior Lex Hilliard with 112 yards rushing on 19 carries with two touchdowns and Ryan Bagley, who caught 10 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Cole Bergquist completed 26-of-35 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns with one interception and one sack.

Connecting The Dots

     Montana associate head coach Mike Hudson served on the same coaching staff as NC offensive coordinator Dennis Darnell at the University of New Mexico in 1994, while UM offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie began his playing career as a tight end at Nebraska in 1984, where NC head coach Scott Downing was the head freshman coach. UM linebacker Thomas Bauer was on the Northern Colorado roster in 2006, finishing second in total tackles behind Cristian Sarmento. NC sophomore linebacker Matt King and UM sophomore defensive end Severin Campbell helped anchor the Golden High School defense together.


     For the second straight week, a Northern Colorado player shared the Big Sky Conference defensive player of the week honors, as senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento was named after the game against Weber State. Sarmento registered 17 total tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in Northern Colorado's 17-10 loss to No. 18 Weber State. Sarmento finished with eight solo stops. He leads the Big Sky and ranks fourth nationally in tackles with an average of 12.7 per game.

     Sophomore safety Max Hewitt became the first Bear to earn a weekly honor in 2008 after the win over Idaho State. Hewitt was second on the team with five tackles and tallied two interceptions, one on the one-yard line saving a Bengal score. He also broke up one pass. Hewitt now has six interceptions for his career.

Giving It The Boot

     Freshman punter Cameron Kaman tied the school record for longest punt against Weber State when he booted it 80 yards. He ties the record established by Don Geist against South Dakota in 1982. Kaman now ranks 36th in the nation, averaging 40.64 yards per punt. Against the Wildcats, he punted nine times for 413 yards for an average of 45.9 per punt. Twice he pinned the Wildcats inside the 20.

Block Party

     Sophomore safety Max Hewitt became the sixth active player on the roster to block a kick when he blocked a Weber State punt on Saturday. He is the third player to block one this year, as sophomore Mike Van Portfliet has blocked two punts and junior Ryan Lutz has blocked one. Martin Awachie and Cristian Sarmento have also blocked kicks during their career. Since reclassifying to Division I, the team record for blocks in a season is seven by the 2004 squad.

Double Is No Trouble

     Through 12 games in 2007, Northern Colorado tallied 136 points for 11.3 per game. Through the first six games in 2008, the Bears have matched that total with 136 points. At Nottingham Field, the team is outscoring the opposition 86-72, averaging 28.7 per contest at home.

Length Of The Field

     Senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento has now tallied 22.5 tackles for loss in his career after the 2.5 against Weber State on Saturday. He has pushed opponents back exactly 100 yards in those 22.5 tackles. Sarmento also has 11 sacks for his career, for a total of 77 yards, with six coming this season for 44 yards. He is now just four sacks shy of appearing on the school's career charts as James Allen (1989-92) holds down the 10th spot with 15 quarterback sacks.

Target Practice

     Junior quarterback Bryan Waggener has spread the wealth this season, with 12 different players catching at least one of his passes. His five favorite targets are senior tight end Ryan Chesla with 24 catches, senior Cory Fauver with 22, senior Jason Caprioli with 21, junior Alex Thompson with 20 and sophomore Brandon Smith with 19. Waggener has completed 122-of-225 passes this year for 1,335 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Pick Me

     Last season, the Bears intercepted 14 passes in 12 games with three different players recording three interceptions on the season. This year already, the Bears have eight picks, with both senior Myles Hayes and sophomore Max Hewitt intercepting three each.

Quickly, Quickly

     Northern Colorado has had 21 scoring drives this season and 11 have taken less than two minutes to complete. The Bears have also struck the scoring column nine times in less than one minute, with four taking less than 30 seconds. The quickest score came against Texas State, 11 seconds when junior quarterback Bryan Waggener found sophomore wide receiver Brandon Smith for a 75-yard touchdown strike.

Making A Name

     Cristian Sarmento became the only three-year player in Big Sky Conference history to appear on the league's top 10 tackles with his 17 against Weber State. He now has 292 in his three seasons in the league, just behind Sacramento State senior Cyrus Mulitalo with 298. Sarmento is also now ninth on the Big Sky charts with 310 total tackles, needing just 10 more to tie for eighth (Duane Hirsch, 1976-79).

Driving School

     Four different times this season, Northern Colorado has scored on a play of 75 or more yards. Against Idaho State, junior running back DC Wilson scored on a 75-yard rush, while sophomore wide receiver Brandon Smith scored on an 80-yard rush and 75-yard reception from junior quarterback Bryan Waggener against Texas State and junior cornerback Quincy Wofford went the length of a field, 100-yards on a kickoff return against Northern Arizona.

Kicking The Habit

     Junior kicker Michael York is tied for first in the Big Sky Conference statistics with a perfect 12-for-12 mark on point-after kicks this year. He and Felipe Macias of Eastern Washington remain the only two without misses in the league. York added a two-point conversion to his record when he picked up a bad snap and ran it in against Idaho State. He is also 6-for-8 on field goals, which is the third-best percentage in the conference.

Rewriting The Books

        Several different players have made a name for themselves in the record books already this season. Those accomplishments follow:

  • Junior cornerback Quincy Wofford tied the Big Sky and Northern Colorado records, returning a kickoff 100 yards against Northern Arizona. It is the fourth time in school history and the 17th time in the Big Sky a player has gone end zone to end zone.
  • Junior quarterback Bryan Waggener's 66-yard run is the second longest ever by a quarterback in school history. In 1972, Gerry Dattilio scampered 68 yards for a touchdown against Fort Hays State.
  • Against Texas State Waggener threw for 402 yards, which is the second-most in a single game in school history behind Nick Henkowski's 436 yards against North Dakota in 1983. Waggener also amassed 395 yards of total offense, which is the fourth-highest total in Bears history. Waggener also had 31 completions against Texas State, which is one shy of the school record of 32 against Central Oklahoma in 1978 and North Dakota State in 1987.
  • Sophomore safety Mike Van Portfliet tied the school record for blocked kicks in a game, blocking back-to-back punts against Northern Arizona. He is the fourth player in school history and the first since 1996 to block two kicks in a contest.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Smith had an 80-yard rush on the first play from scrimmage against Texas State for the fourth longest rushing play in school history.
  • Junior running back DC Wilson went 75-yards for a touchdown run against Idaho State, marking the ninth longest rushing play ever at Northern Colorado.
  • Junior kicker Michael York tied for the sixth most field goals in a game at NC, when he made three at UC Davis.
  • Wofford's 124 kickoff return yards against Northern Arizona is the ninth-best single game total in school history.
  • Senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento now ranks ninth in career total tackles with 310, while senior linebacker Joe Kenney is now tied for eighth in fumble recoveries with six in his career.

Points A-Plenty

     Northern Colorado scored 35 points in the home opener against Texas State, the first time since Oct. 29, 2005 the Bears scored more than 30 in a game when they defeated Fort Lewis on Homecoming, 45-14. The Bears have now scored 97 points this year in four games for an average of 24.2 per game. Last year, it took NC nine games to get to the 97 point mark.