Montana pulls away from Drake, 48-16

MISSOULA, Mont. — Drake came up from Iowa intending the handle the crowd, but in the end couldn’t quite bulldog Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed.

Sneed fired two touchdown passes 22 seconds apart and added a scoring run as the Montana Grizzlies pulled away from Drake 48-16 on Saturday.

The junior threw scoring passes covering 13 and 10 yards to Jerry Louie-McGee and Samuel Akem in the final minute of the third quarter. Akem’s touchdown, with 22 seconds left in the quarter, came one play after an interception and 25-yard return by Grizzlies’ safety Reid Miller, and made it 31-10.

Sneed added a 13-yard scramble for a TD with 8:40 left in the game, answering a 3-yard scoring pass from Bulldogs’ quarterback Grant Kraemer. That made it 38-16.

“I think they just wore us down,” Drake coach Rick Fox said. “Their blitz was getting to us all day. We didn’t finish a couple drives and that was big, and then they just wore us out.

“And the quarterback, he’s just a great player. He just does so many things for you.”

Tailback Adam Eastwood added two scoring runs for Montana, including a 37-yard burst as the Grizzlies (2-0) pulled away from a 10-3 halftime lead. Eastwood’s second TD made it 17-3 midway through the third quarter.

After Drake (0-1) cut the lead to 17-10 on a 49-yard Will Warner punt fake, Sneed had his two scoring passes. Sneed was 31 of 47 passing for 278 yards, and was also the Grizzlies’ leading rusher with 65 yards.

Drake, a member of the Pioneer League, pushed the Grizzlies behind the play of Kraemer, who threw for 281 yards and a touchdown. Kraemer was also sacked seven times and intercepted twice. The Bulldogs had four second-half turnovers.

After Sneed’s rushing TD, the Grizzlies tacked on a Tim Semenza field goal and a 40-yard interception return by Dareon Nash. Nash picked off a pass by Drake backup Alex Bray to cap the scoring with 3:34 left.

The Grizzlies took the lead for good at 10-3, with a quick 60-yard drive following Danny Donley’s 45-yard field goal for Drake. Eastwood capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown run, at 13:21 of the second quarter. The score stayed that way until halftime.

Devin Cates had nine catches for 80 yards for Drake, which saw its season opener last week washed out.