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Montana running back Treshawn Favors runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the Grizzlies’ game against Savannah State in September.

TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian

MISSOULA — The goal line was staring Treshawn Favors in the face. 

Ten minutes remained on the clock and Montana had already built an insurmountable 49-3 lead on Savannah State. But Favors and the Grizzlies were just one yard shy of adding to that lead. 

After the ball was snapped on first-and-goal, quarterback Caleb Hill handed the ball off to Favors. He darted into the end zone for his first Grizzly touchdown.

"It was really big," Favors, a senior running back, said. "I knew that my time was gonna come. Once I got my opportunity I had to take full advantage of that. I scored and everyone, I turned around, and everyone was just picking me up, congratulating me and honestly that made my day right there."

Over on the sideline, the rest of the running backs were jumping with excitement. 

Justin Green, the running backs coach, knew how special the moment was, too. 

"It was huge for a guy that's worked so hard to have that opportunity to get the touchdown," Green said. "... For him to get that, it's big time for him. It gives him some relief of all the hard work that he's put in to be able to score and be effective that way.

"We (running backs) talk about that we are the one representative for our team no matter who that is. How special it is for a guy who's been here five years and this is his first opportunity to do so. It was awesome. There wasn't a running back that didn't greet him first once he got to the sideline."

***

Favors' football career began more than 15 years ago when he suited up as a 5- or 6-year-old for flag football. 

Once he got a little older, the Glendale, Arizona, native started playing Pop Warner, but not as a running back. 

The first position Favors played was center. 

"I was a little chubby kid," Favors said. 

But he wasn't happy like that. He said he needed to do something different. 

"I was like, 'All right. I need to change this,'" Favors remembered. "So I started working out like crazy and I started being a running back a few years after that."

Once he "lost all the fat and stuff," Favors began taking football seriously in the seventh grade. He looked up to players like Emmitt Smith and Adrian Peterson. 

After watching them, Favors knew he "wanted to be in that position."

So he continued to work toward the goal through middle school and high school. 

He began to break out during his junior season at Mountain Ridge High School. In his first four games, Favors rushed for 411 yards.

Then injury struck.

"I blew out my shoulder," Favors said. 

The injury didn't stop the calls from rolling in. 

"It caught me off guard," Favors said of the coaches calling. "I had a few good games and I started getting random calls. I was like, 'What is this?' Coaches were talking about, 'Hey Tre. It's nice to meet you, I'm blah blah blah. I'd like to say I'm going to give you a full ride to play here.' It blew my mind."

Favors' first offer came from South Dakota State. He was excited.

"We'd never even heard of this school," Favors said. "Right when I got home from school I started looking up everything about that school."

Favors rebounded the following year and rushed for 1,065 yards on 214 carries with 12 touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for three touchdowns, earning all-conference honors along with his team's MVP award.

Montana came calling midway through his senior year.

On his official visit to Missoula, Favors didn't get to see a game because the Grizzlies failed to reach the playoffs that year. It didn't matter to him.

"Everyone treated me like I was already part of the team," he said. "I'd never set foot even in Montana before and I felt very welcomed to be here."

Throughout his five-year Grizzly career, Favors' impact on the program is felt far and wide, even though he's not the starter in the backfield. 

"We're big on preaching tradition and blue-collar (work ethic)," Green said. "He represents that for sure. The other thing with that, he understands and has insight on why other teams play their best against us and he's able to get that insight to our younger players and leave that legacy behind. All my young guys look up to him as far as how hard he works. That's important."

In his first three eligible seasons, Favors has played in 21 games at running back, totaling 272 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving. 

This season, he's added 21 yards on seven carries through four games — with a touchdown — to help out in every way he can. 

"Tre is kind of the example of the type of guy you want in your room," Green said. "A guy who, he's battled through injuries, he's battled through placement. He's battled through springs, as far as opportunity is concerned, and always brings his best effort to every single practice and every single opportunity that he gets. That's all you want your players to do is to give their best all the time and he's that type of person."

Amie Just covers Griz football for the Missoulian, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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