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Clifton McDowell, the Grizzlies quarterback
Clifton McDowell, the Grizzlies’ quarterback
University of Montana

As many Montanans know, the Grizzly football team is the best it has been in decades. They took 1st place in their conference, the Big Sky conference, for the first time since 2009 and won all but one game against division opponents. This conference includes 12 teams from 8 different states. 

The Griz have played great this year, and they had an overall record of 9-1 in the regular season. This gave them the ticket for the 1 seed in their conference. After winning in the playoffs by a considerable margin (winning by 30 in the brawl of the wild), they were 10-1 overall going into the 2nd round of the NCAA FCS tournament. Their large win against Montana State had the Griz ranked number 2 in the tournament. They would then have to play Delaware, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association Conference. Delaware was 9-3 going into the game, but the Conference they are in is competitive enough that a 9-3 record only got them 5th place in their conference.

Either way though, Delaware was coming off of a win streak, and they weren’t going to go down without a fight in the game against the Griz. The game started off with what looked like it was going to be a solid drive being ended by an interception off of a deflection in favor of Delaware. But when Delaware got the ball, they were unable to do anything with it against the stout Montana Griz defense. The Griz got the ball back, and started the blowout with a field-goal drive that was kept alive and made possible by a pass-interference call downfield. 

In the Griz’ second drive, they were able to establish the run game and wear out the defense just a little more. Delaware still has to receive some credit though, as they didn’t let the Griz convert on 3rd and 13, when Clifton McDowell (the Griz’ quarterback) missed an open receiver after a first and second-down stop. 

Another Delaware drive stopped short by the strong Montana defense led to the Griz getting the ball back, and scoring the first (of many) touchdown(s) of the game. Clifton McDowell threw to Xavier Harris on the sideline, and he was able to break free for a long touchdown catch and run. This gave the Griz a lead of 10-0 very early into the game, and they would continue this pace until they secured a strong victory, with a score of 49-19. Winning by this much in the second round of the playoffs sends a message to the other teams in this branch of the tournament: the Grizzlies are a legitimate team, and they will not go down easy. 

The Griz have played great all season, and they only have 1 loss, which was to Northern Arizona University. The Griz are averaging a massive 29.5 points per game, and their offense has mostly led them to success this season. Clifton McDowell has been playing great, and he has excellent receivers to rely on. Running back Nick Ostmo has also been great, and he puts together a solid game almost every time. He is a pinnacle of consistency and will help the Griz get even further into the playoffs. The Griz’ next game is in Missoula against Furman college. The game will be a challenge for them, but the Griz are likely to win this one. 

12/11 UPDATE: 

The Griz were able to hold on in overtime to win 35-28 against Furman. Furman was extremely successful in stopping the Griz’ running backs, but the they couldn’t stop Clifton McDowell, the quarterback from getting more than 100 yards on the ground and a touchdown. The quarterback’s rushing performance propelled the Griz forward, and the Griz will play North Dakota State University on December 16th. The Griz’ offense has just been getting better and better, and North Dakota State has to be able to stop it if they want to win.

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will have to have surgery on a fractured shoulder he sustained after the Browns’ win against the Ravens on Nov. 12. He has played only 12 games since he got his new contract at the beginning of last season. The contract consisted of 230 million dollars over 5 years, fully guaranteed. This means that even though he is injured, he still receives the same amount as if he were playing.


Deshaun played 12 games over the last 2 seasons, and he will not return this season. This means that the Browns paid him 46 million dollars to play only 12 games. This averages out to almost 4 million per game he played.  In 2023, he had a below-average 84.3 Quarter Back Rating (QBR), and in 2022, the Browns only managed to win 7 games. Deshaun was also injured for the majority of last year. 


The Browns are not getting their money’s worth out of Deshaun so far into his contract. Through 2 years he only has 2,217 yards. To put this in comparison, C.J. Stroud, the rookie quarterback for the Texans has had more yards in his first 10 games than a quarterback commonly deemed as “elite” hasn’t been able to do this in 2 years of football.


Deshaun Watson was lackluster even when he was healthy. He had a QBR of 79.1 in the games he started in 2022. This was after he came back from a year-long suspension for sexual misconduct in 2021. Though his poor performance in the last two years can be blamed mostly on injury and being out of the league, Browns fans are still disappointed in his performance thus far in his stint. 


This injury will make it even harder to return to his former performance level when he was with the Texans. Browns fans just have to hope that the injury will not prevent him from at least being at practice camp next year, so he gets back into the groove. Deshaun was on an upward trend though right before the injury. His average QBR was up, and he won 5 out of 6 of his starts, despite the stat sheet not showing greatness. 


So will Deshaun be an overall bad investment for the Browns? Or will he be able to return to his previous form, and impress and satisfy the fans? Browns fans just have to remain hopeful for the future of their team.