By Mike Coil
Explore Big Sky Contributor
The “Brawl of the Wild” became the maul of the wild as the University of Montana Grizzlies beat the Montana State University Bobcats 34-7 on Nov. 22 in Missoula. The Bobcats (8-4, 6-2) were never in the football game as the Griz (8-4, 6-2) marched the length of the field and scored a field goal on their first possession.
Things only got worse as MSU turned the ball over seven times – twice from inside the Griz’ 10-yard line – as they were knocking on the scoring door. Junior quarterback Jake Bleskin, stepping in for the injured Dakota Prukop, threw five interceptions and the halftime score was 27-0, in favor of the Grizzlies.
Bleskin mounted several long drives that would have kept the Cats in the game but each ended in disaster near the goal line with interceptions or fumbles. Bleskin was replaced in the fourth quarter by Manhattan standout Quinn McQueary who engineered the only Bobcats’ score late in the game. The Griz scored all but three of their points off of turnovers.
The Bobcats end the season in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Sky Conference with Montana and Idaho State. The 26,352 fans at the game set a new attendance record at Washington-Grizzly Stadium and one of the oldest rivalries in college football now stands at 72-37-5 in favor of the Griz. In this 114th meeting between the teams, it was the first time since 2008 that the home team emerged victorious.
The Bobcats will host South Dakota State in the first round of the FCS playoffs at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29 in Bozeman.