The Montana State Bobcats were the No. 1 team in the FCS, the No. 1 defense in the Big Sky and were scoring 42 points per game at home. None of that mattered to the Montana Grizzlies. Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, the Grizzlies rushed for over 300 yards on their way to a 36-10 win over their arch rival. With it came a Big Sky championship as well as an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.
Peter Nguyen pushed the lead to 26 points on a 23-yard touchdown scamper with 9:28 left. Dan Moore's 37-yard rumble up the middle for a touchdown at 5:37 in the third quarter made it 29-7, but the Cats answered with a field goal early in the final frame.
The Griz lead was 22-7 after Brody McKnight's 33-yard field goal at 10:05 left in the quarter. Minutes earlier Montana scored on a Jordan Johnson 79-yard touchdown pass to Jabin Sambrano. That came on the heels of Montana State's only score on a 7-yard TD pass from DeNarius McGhee to Elvis Akpla.
The Griz scored the game's first touchdown with 2:15 left in the first half on a 2-yard pass from Johnson to tight end Kavario Middleton. Montana used a 34-yard field goal by McKnight and a safety to take a 5-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the second quarter.
A record-breaking crowd of 20,247 was on hand.
Both the Grizzlies (9-2) and Bobcats (9-2) will find out who their playoff opponents will be on Sunday at 10 a.m. on ESPNU.
For full coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.