Following two of the best individual seasons in all of college football, Montana defenders Dante Olson and Robby Hauck were named finalists on Monday for STATS FCS national player of the year awards.
Olson was named as one of 25 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award that goes to the nation’s top defensive player. Hauck was named one of 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award for the top freshman player in FCS football.
Olson finished his junior season with 151 total tackles, the most in FCS and FBS football. He shattered the Montana single-season school record by more than 20 tackles and finished the year just 26 shy of breaking the Big Sky record, despite not playing in the postseason.
Olson also finished the season ranked second in the Big Sky in forced fumbles (three), fourth in the league in sacks, and eighth in tackles for loss.
The Medford, Oregon, native was named ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week three times in the first five weeks of the season, and the STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week following the Sept. 8 game against Drake where he recorded 16 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.
He was also one tackle away from tying the UM single-game tackle record at Cal Poly, putting in 24 stops against the Mustangs, and totaled 10 tackles or more in nine of 11 games this year.
At the Grizzlies’ season awards banquet on Sunday, Olson was named the team’s Defensive MVP, as voted by the coaching staff. He also earned the Steve Carlson Most Valuable Player award for the teams’ overall top performer, as voted by the players.
Hauck was Montana’s second-leading tackler in 2018, with a total of 95 stops, and also recorded four pass breakups.
His 95 takedowns are the most by any freshman in FCS or FBS football, and put him at No. 5 in the Big Sky Conference in overall tackles — the only freshman amongst the top-30 tacklers in the league.
Not only is Olson productive on the field, he carries a 3.87 GPA in the classroom as a business management major.
Hauck had four games with double-digit tackles and recorded a career-high 17 at Cal Poly as well.
Montana has had 11 previous finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award since 2000, including two winners: Kroy Biermann (2007) and Tyrone Holmes (2015).
The Grizzlies have also had two finalists for the Jerry Rice Award in the previous two seasons. Jerry Louie-McGee finished seventh in the voting in 2016, and Gresch Jensen finished third on the ballot in 2017.