By Taylor Anderson
Big Sky Weekly Assistant Editor
It was all there.
Bobcats. Grizzlies. Lunatic fans. All together in Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula. Do-or-die for both teams.
One would move on to play in the Football Championship Subdivision Championship Game. The other would stay at home in disappointment.
The No. 4 Grizzlies set the plan in motion Dec. 9 by routing No. 5 Northern Iowa, 48–10 on ESPN. UM quarterback threw for three touchdowns and 196 yards and secured that team’s next primetime TV showing slated for Dec. 16.
And then it happened. Montana State lost to No. 1 ranked Sam Houston State last weekend in Huntsville, Texas, 49–13.
Now it’s a new storyline. UM, rather than having a rematch of the Brawl of the Wild under the Friday night lights in Missoula, will head to Huntsville in a more arduous route to the FCS Championship game.
The 13–0 Bearkats season included a victory over an FBS team (albeit an overtime win over the lowly, 1–11 New Mexico Lobos). The team has won every game this season by an average 26 points. This season is the team’s first time finishing within the top 25 since 2004.
Sam Houston brings with its flawless season a history of shaky play. This year’s No. 1 finish was the first time the Bearkats finished within the top 25 since 2004.
The Grizzlies’ long list of playoff appearances and late-season pushes for the FCS Championship make it a contender. It, too, finished out of the rankings last season and missed the playoffs in coach Robin Pflugrad’s first season as head of the team.
Sam Houston’s high-scoring offense paired up against the Grizzlies’ strong backfield and, at times, explosive offense, will make this game exciting.
Don’t miss it out of spite for the Bobcats’ late season fallout.