Montana shocks No. 20 Washington in rare FCS upset over ranked FBS team

·3-min read

Expectations were sky-high for No. 20 Washington entering the 2021 season. It took all of one game for it all to come crashing down.

Year 2 of the Jimmy Lake era opened with a horrendous 13-7 loss to Montana, an FCS team. It was just a brutal performance from the Huskies offensively. 

Montana’s historic moment marked the first FCS upset over a ranked FBS opponent since 2016, when North Dakota State went into Iowa City and beat No. 13 Iowa.

In this upset, Montana's defense was the story. Washington scored a touchdown on its first possession but would never score again.

After that opening possession, UW punted five times, turned it over on downs twice, missed a field goal and tossed three interceptions. Dylan Morris’ third interception came in Montana territory in the final seconds to seal a mammoth upset.

While the Washington offense sputtered, Montana was able to slowly chip away. 

Washington’s lead was 7-3 after the first quarter, and it remained that way all the way into the fourth quarter. That’s when Washington’s defense could no longer account for the offense’s ineptitude.

The Grizzlies surged ahead on a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cam Humphrey, a native of the Seattle area.

It gave Montana a 10-7 lead with 10:35 to play, and Humphrey’s touchdown would prove to be the winning score.

Washington just could not get anything going. Washington couldn’t establish any sort of run game (65 yards on 27 carries), so the Grizzlies dared Morris to beat them through the air. He couldn’t do it. Morris finished the night 27-of-46 for just 226 yards and three interceptions.

Montana hung around just long enough and avoided mistakes offensively. And on this night, that was the simple recipe for a historic upset. 

The Grizzlies, who hadn't beaten a Pac-12 team since 1996, became just the fifth FCS team to upset an FBS team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 since 1978. The win also marked Montana's first over Washington since 1920. The Grizzlies are now 2-17-1 all-time vs. the Huskies. 

On top of that, it was another win for the Big Sky against FBS competition. 

Earlier in Week 1, UC Davis beat Tulsa and Eastern Washington beat UNLV. But neither of those victories compare to what the Grizzlies accomplished on Saturday night in Seattle. 

Montana quarterback Cam Humphrey (2) scrambles away from Washington's Sam Taimani in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Montana quarterback Cam Humphrey (2) scrambles away from Washington's Sam Taimani in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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