The transfer portal and the reneging of a contract may make for strange bedfellows this September.

Few college football teams in America, the University of Montana Grizzlies included, are exempt from the trials and tribulations of the transfer portal. There are ups and downs, and through recruiting to replace the holes left by departures, teams can only hope they come out better on the other side.

This is not an analysis of how the Griz have fared in 2024 in this department. Rather, we take a look at the circuitous routes of two former Montana quarterbacks, who could possibly square off in September as new conference rivals, due to their lengthy searches for teams that are the right fit for them. For one, maybe it's a chance to actually play. For the other, it's a search for...well, after so many school changes, it's hard to say.


Stephen F. Austin University in Texas entered into a two-game home-and-home contract with the Montana State Bobcats, the first of which was scheduled for September 14 in Bozeman. Shortly after cancelling the agreement, SFA announced their move from the United Athletic Conference to the Southland Conference. Instead of playing at MSU on that date, the Lumberjacks will play their conference opener at McNeese State.

That left the Bobcats scrambling to find a replacement home game, which they did in the form of Mercyhurst, entering their first season as a Division l program, as members of the Northeast Conference.

Listed on the McNeese State roster is quarterback Clifton McDowell, who comes to the Cowboys by way of previous commitments to Louisiana, Kilgore Junior College, Central Arkansas, Southern, Montana and Temple. All that travel apparently helped Clifton grow an inch, as the 2023 Grizzly roster listed him at 6'4". The Cowboys' roster has him at 6'5", and at this moment, he is identified on the roster as wearing jersey #2.

On the Stephen F. Austin roster, you will find quarterback Sam Vidlak, who joins the Lumberjacks by way of Oregon State, Boise State and Montana. He has not been assigned a jersey number.

Will they play? Will they stay?


It's a strange, strange college football world. In another scheduling oddity, Montana will host Missouri State for the season opener on August 31. After one year at Montana, running back Iverson Young is now a member of the Bears.

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