Quarterback Jordan Johnson returned to the University of Montana lineup Saturday night and the Grizzlies looked like they are ready to return to an elite level in the FCS.
In a matchup of perennial national powers, 20th-ranked Montana blasted 12th- ranked Appalachian State, 30-6, at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
In losing Scott Satterfield's coaching debut, the visiting Mountaineers also lost star quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson to an apparent hand injury.
Johnson, a junior, completed 19-of-23 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns as Montana (1-0) won the highly anticipated season opener for both teams.
After leading Montana to a share of the Big Sky Conference title and the FCS semifinals in 2011, Johnson was suspended by the school for all of last season following his arrest on sexual assault charges that were later dropped.
Without Johnson, Montana suffered its first losing season in 27 years. Then this offseason, the Grizzlies received NCAA penalties for illegal booster activity from past years, but their program still remains eligible for the national playoffs.
A lot was restored on the field against Appalachian State. Montana rushed for 246 yards, with Travon Von and Jordan Canada gaining 118 and 112 yards, respectively. They both scored on touchdown runs.
In relief of Londry-Jackson, Kameron Bryant was 8-of-12 for 116 yards. The Mountaineers' points came from Drew Stewart's two field goals.