Photos and story by Mike Coil ExploreBigSky.com Contributor

Montana State University is a force this season.

The Bobcats (7-1, 10-1) rolled into Missoula on Saturday November 17 like a juggernaut, defeating rival University of Montana Grizzlies, 16-7.

In what’s known as the Brawl of the Wild, the Griz (3-5, 5-6) scored their only points on the third drive of the game, with a 47-yard touchdown run by running back Peter Nguyen. The Griz piled up 108 rushing yards in the first quarter but then it was all Cats. The MSU defense took over in the second quarter, holding Montana’s offense to 60 rushing yards the rest of the game.

The Bobcats scored their only touchdown in the first quarter, on a 16-yard pass from DeNarius McGhee to Brian Flotkoetter. MSU place kicker Rory Perez made 3 field goals to lead all scorers.

With the win, the Bobcats secured a tie with Eastern Washington University and California Polytechnic State University for the Big Sky conference title, and have earned a bye during the first round of the tournament.

Their first game will be Dec. 1 against the winner of the Villanova/Stony Brook game. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. at Bobcat stadium.

This is the third straight season the Bobcats have gone to the playoffs.