MISSOULA — Marcus Knight and Nick Ostmo are hitting their stride again as Montana's running backs.
Both players missed 2021 due to injury, but after returning healthy in fall camp, the two put forth their best games in Montana's most recent contest against Idaho State, with Knight rushing for 101 yards and a score, while Ostmo tallied 92 yards.
"We knew that going into it we could get some push off the line and stuff and kind of be physical with their defense," Ostmo, a redshirt sophomore, said. "So it's just about hitting the holes and running through contact and we emphasize that during practice, we finish every play and just kind of working off that through practice and knowing we can do that in a game."
Ostmo has been the team's leading rusher this year in the running back room with 46 carries for 238 yards and one touchdown.
After a strong showing in spring of 2021, Ostmo was geared up to play a big part for UM last fall, but toward the end of fall camp, Ostmo injured his ankle and missed most of the season, until he made a brief return late in the year before injuring it again.
But getting back on the field in the opener against Northwestern State was a big moment for him as he's found his groove again.
"It was a lot of being conscientious of what I was doing and it was kind of trying to get over that hurdle of not wanting to get hurt but trying to push myself and trusting my body and my ankle and dealing with other sorenesses that I hadn't done in a while," Ostmo said. "Like, I hadn't done a lot of movements in football and stuff so it was a lot of getting back into those movements and trying to work to be healthy during fall camp."
Knight's layoff was longer, but his performance against the Bengals was a throwback to how he performed throughout 2019 for the Griz. At this point of the season, Knight has carried the ball 34 times for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
Similar to Ostmo, it was about putting the mental and physical hurdles in the past, and getting back to form.
"Mainly the mental hurdle was coming into the first game and not necessarily knowing how I'd do and all of that, but now that we're kind of in the middle of the season, I feel pretty good and I know I can do it so the mental thing is non-existent right now," Knight, a redshirt junior, said. "I feel good and I'm ready to be physical and first contact in any game you're nervous so it's no different than it always has been."
Alongside Xavier Harris (38 carries, 224 yards, one TD) and quarterback Lucas Johnson (193 rushing yards, five TDs), the duo has UM's run game rolling right now, and they're not taking these moments for granted.
"It's super cool," Knight said. "We just went through a lot of stuff so you definitely don't have good times without bad times so it's definitely fun to see Nick be back and me be back and yeah it just makes it more fun and you know we cherish every moment at this point because we definitely know it can be taken away quick."