Griz football: Dante Olson named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week

Montana junior linebacker Dante Olson made the most of his first start as a Grizzly, making big play after big play against the 13th-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers.

His impact hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with the Medford, Oregon native collecting a pair of weekly honors as the ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week and the College Sports Madness Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week. He was also an honorable mention for the STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week.

Olson logged a game-high 13 tackles on Saturday and tallied a statistic in six of the nine defensive categories by adding a sack, an interception, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. He was also right there to recover one of UNI’s three fumbles but was unable to come up with the ball.

Olson’s 13 tackles were tied for the most in Big Sky play in week one and were the most of any Big Sky player against a Division-I opponent. Nationally, his 13 tackles tie him for the tenth-most in all of FCS football on week one and were the most tallied against a top-25 opponent.

In his first game as a starter, his 13 tackles are a new career-high, and his interception (which he returned 26 yards) was the first of his career. The sack was the third of his career.

Despite not starting until his junior season, Olson has already had a decorated career at UM. As a sophomore, he was named second-team All-Big Sky for special teams and won the Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year award for a second-straight season. As a true freshman, he was named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year as well.

These are the first Player of the Week honors of his career.

Olson is also a decorated student as a two-time Academic All-Big Sky selection with a 4.0 GPA. In his time away from the football field, he also mentors a class of underprivileged kids in Northern California.

ROOT Sports Big Sky Players of the Week
Offense: Ulonzo Gilliam – UC Davis (RB – 23 Att. – 132 yards – 2 TD – 22 long – 5.7 Avg.)
Defense: Dante Olson – Montana (13 Tackles – 1 Sack – 1 TFL – 1 INT – 1 PBU – 1 QBH)
Special Teams: Tristan Baily – Montana State (4/4 FG – 50 Long)

Montana Nominations
Offense: Keenan Curran
Special Teams: Tim Semenza