Main Photo Credit - NEC Website -

Main Photo Credit – NEC Website –

Saint Francis University

Loretto, Pennsylvania

First Season: 1909
Enrollment: 2,688
Nickname: Red Flash
Conference Championships: 1991 (Atlantic Collegiate Football Conference Champions)
Playoff Appearances: None

  • ALL-TIME RECORD: 234-420-16
  • HEAD COACH: Chris Villarrial (24-41, 6th season at SFU)
  • STADIUM: DeGol Field (3,450 capacity)
  • 2015 RECORD: 7-4 (4-2 NEC)
  • LAST 5 SEASONS: 23-31
  • SERIES HISTORY: First meeting between schools.

Saint Francis? Aren’t they a NAIA school?

No, this isn’t NAIA Saint Francis from Fort Wayne, Indiana. This Saint Francis is the FCS program out of the Northeast Conference and has been an FCS program since 1993. Most people have never heard of Saint Francis as they historically haven’t been a winning program and assume that Montana’s opening game will be a guaranteed win. While the odds are heavily in Montana’s favor, Saint Francis is a decent football program.

To get a better idea of what to expect out of Saint Francis on Saturday, consider this. has the Red Flash ranked #80 out of 125 FCS teams to start the season. In the Big Sky Conference, Saint Francis will be comparable to playing UC Davis (Ranked #88), Idaho State (Ranked #90) and Sacramento State (Ranked #93). Based on this information, we can predict that while the Griz should be able to defeat SFU easily, there is always the chance that Saint Francis could stick around and possibly beat Montana (aka the close call in the 2015 OT win against Idaho State).

Saint Francis Football Schedule/Results

Saint Francis’ toughest game on their non-conference schedule is having to play at Montana. Many teams say that they are prepared to play in the hostile Washington-Grizzly Stadium, but then collapse under the pressure of 26,000 rabid fans. This will be the first time Saint Francis has played in Missoula (and the first meeting between the two programs) and the largest crowd that they have played before in the last several years. The largest crowd they’ve played in front of recently was in 2014 at James Madison (23,577 in a 22-38 loss).

Below is Saint Francis’ 2015 schedule and 2014 results.

Offensive/Defensive Breakdown

Below are the stats for the Griz and Liberty offense/defense last season (2015).

(Stats research from Brint Wahlberg)

Offensive Stats Montana Saint Francis
Passing Yards 280.5 208
Rushing Yards 142 160
Total Offense 423 368
Defensive Stats Montana Saint Francis
Pass Defense 190.3 163
Rush Defense 189.7 146.3
Total Defense 380.0 309.3
Other Stats Montana Saint Francis
Offensive Points Scored 29.3 ppg 28.2 ppg
Defensive Points Allowed 24.6 ppg 20.9 ppg
Turnover Margin +/-0 +2
Red Zone Defense (Touchdowns) 54% Allowed 52% Allowed
Red Zone Offense (Touchdowns) 46% 60%


This should be a game that the Griz are able to control and win comfortably. A big game from the O-Line will be needed to help Gustafson have time to get his passes off to his receivers and open up holes for our running backs. Gustafson also needs to have a good game with accurate throws and avoid missing open targets. If the Griz play well with minimal mistakes, we see the final score being:

Montana 45, Saint Francis 14.

Go Griz!!