Hardin gives North Dakota 40-34 win over Montana

The Associated Press

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- Greg Hardin caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left, breaking the Big Sky Conference receiving record with 333 yards in North Dakota's 40-34 victory over Montana on Saturday.

Hardin caught 12 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the previous record of 315 yards set by Northern Colorado's Patrick Walker in 2011. The 333 yards receiving is a North Dakota record for Hardin who wasn't far off from the FCS all-time mark of 376 yards set by Kassim Osgood in 2000. The junior receiver did most of his damage in the first half, catching seven passes for 243 yards and two scores.

Hardin wasn't the only one to shine for North Dakota (4-4, 2-3 Big Sky) with Blair Townsend catching 13 balls for 152 yards and a score. Jameer Jackson was the third receiver to go over 100 yards receiving in the game for North Dakota, catching eight passes for 124 yards.

Quarterback Braden Hanson completed 42 of 61 passes, setting a North Dakota single-game passing record with 660 yards, and had five touchdowns to go along with his three interceptions. Hanson broke John Bowenkamp's school passing mark of 515 yards set in 2002.

North Dakota jumped out to an early 14-0 lead when Hanson hooked up with Hardin on a 39-yard touchdown pass at the 8:24 mark in the first quarter. The Hanson-led offense kept North Dakota ahead of the Grizzlies for most of the game until Shay Smithwick-Hann found Ellis Henderson in the end zone on a 27-yard touchdown strike with 6:05 to go in the third quarter, giving the Grizzlies their first lead of the night at 34-31.

Montana (3-5, 1-4) led 34-31 entering the fourth quarter before North Dakota kicker Zeb Miller hit a 34-yard field goal to make it 34-34 with 2 minutes remaining. Stephen Shaw wound up punting on the ensuing possession for the Grizzlies, giving Hanson and his offense 39 seconds to get something done. Five plays later, Hardin's catch with 12 seconds to go broke the record and gave North Dakota the lead for good.

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