Some significant Montana ties in tonight’s Alamo Bowl
The 30th annual Alamo Bowl between the #20 Texas Longhorns and the #12 Washington Huskies is coming up tonight from the Alamodome in Texas.
Texas went 8-4 overall and 6-3 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are led by QB Quinn Ewers. Ewers threw for 1808 yards, and 14 Touchdowns this season while missing 3 games due to a shoulder injury.
The Huskies of Washington went 10-2 overall and 7-2 in Pac-12 play under new head coach Kalen DeBoer. Washington has won their last 6 games. The Huskies offense has been incredible this season, led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Penix led the nation with 4354 passing yards, averaging 363 a game. UW’s offense was #2 in the country averaging 522 yards a game, #4 in scoring at 40.8 a game, and #1 in the country, getting 27 first downs a game.
This is going to be a great game. But it gets really exciting when you look at it through the lens of Montana and the Frontier Conference.
The University of Texas has one Montana player on the current roster, and one coach as well.
Gabe Sulser, a 5th-year senior transfer from the University of Montana.
Gabe played in 5 games this year for the Horns. I would assume there are coaches in the AA that still have nightmares about Gabe at Billings Senior. A special athlete finishing his college career in the Alamo Bowl.
Jeff Choate- Co-Defensive Coordinator / Inside Linebacker coach. –
Coach Choate was hired at Texas in January of 2021, after spending 4 years as the head coach of Montana State University. In his 4 years at MSU, Coach Choate breathed significant life into the Bobcats. In 2018 and 2019 the Cats made playoff appearances, including a Semi-final run in 2019. Coach Choate is a 1993 UM Western graduate, where he played linebacker for the Bulldogs.
The University of Washington has 3 coaches with Montana ties.
The first is Chuck Morrell- Co-Defensive Coordinator / Safeties Coach –
When head coach Kalen Deboer accepted the job at UW, leaving Fresno State, Coach Morrell made the move as well. Coach Deboer and Coach Morrell’s history is deep and storied going back to their playing days at Sioux Falls in the 1990s. Before accepting the coaching position at Fresno State, Coach Morrell was head coach at Montana Tech for 9 seasons, winning 3 Frontier Conference championships, and 3 conference coach of the year awards. In his time as head coach of Montana Tech Coach Morrell racked up 52 wins, which is 2nd all-time in Oredigger history.
Nick Brautigam- Quality Control- Defense.
Nick is another Montana Tech Oredigger. Nick spent 3 years at Montana Tech where he was the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Before Tech, Nick was at DIII Loras College (Iowa), where he spent 1 year as the special teams / secondary coach.
Jerrett McElwain- Director of Scouting.
Jerrett was hired at Washington just about 1 year ago, as he and Director of Player Personnel Courtney Morgan, were both stolen away from Michigan. A good chunk of Michigan’s recent success can be attributed to Morgan and Jerrett McElwain. Before his time at Michigan, Jerrett was in the recruiting department at the University of Alabama for four years. Jerrett has a good eye for talent and knows football since he has been neck-deep in it his whole life. He is the son of current Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain. Coach McElwain, (dad) is a Sentinel Spartan, who played at Eastern Washington. He was an assistant coach at Montana State from 95-99 and went on to some other incredible heights.
Jerrett was actually born in Washington right before the family move to Bozeman in 1995. Jerrett makes his way to Montana as much as possible, especially now that he is only a drive away!
Tonight’s game should be outstanding, one that I am truly excited about. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was just as excited (if not more-so) to see "Montana" guys on the big stage.