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There have been some great Brawls lately

Riding a three-game winning streak, Bobcats can win this decade


Last updated 11/21/2019 at 1:58pm

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State's Troy Andersen scores in the fourth quarter of the 2018 Cat-Griz game last November in Missoula. The Cats have won the last three meetings in the rivalry, and since 2011, are 4-4 against the Grizzlies.

Montana 36, Montana State 10 - 2011,


It was set up as a coronation for the newly top-ranked Bobcats, but the No. 7 Griz took command in the second half behind Dan Moore and Peter Nguyen. Moore rushed for 116 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown to put UM up 29-7 at 5:37 of the third quarter. Nguyen ran for 123, including a 21-yard run to cap the scoring with 9:28 left, and send many of the record crowd of 20,247 at an expanded Bobcat Stadium for the exits. Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson threw for two touchdowns, one a 2-yard strike to Kavario Middleton on fourth-and-goal with 2:15 left in the first half. That put Montana up 12-0. MSU drove to a touchdown to start the second half, DeNarius McGee hitting Elvis Akpla from 7 yards. But the Griz answered on their next offensive snap: Johnson found Jabin Sambrano for 79 yards and a TD to make it 19-7. Montana gained 316 yards of offense in the second half, and rushed for 309 yards against the Big Sky's top run defense. "I'm very proud and honored to be involved in a game like this, when it comes down to the great state of Montana for the championship," second-year Griz coach Robin Pflugrad said. "It's nice to get on that bus with a win." Both teams lost at Sam Houston State in the FCS playoffs; the Griz fell 31-28 in the semifinals. And in 2013, as part of NCAA sanctions, the Griz' victory that day in Bozeman was wiped off the record books.

Montana State 16, Montana 7 - 2012,


The second-ranked Bobcats relied on defense, kicker Rory Perez and quarterback DeNarius McGhee to subdue the Griz. Montana led 7-3 after Peter Nguyen's 47-yard scoring run in the first quarter but didn't score again. Bobcat defensive ends Caleb Schreibeis (16 tackles and a sack) and Brad Daly shut down the Griz running game; Montana punted eight times after Nguyen's TD. A record Washington-Grizzly Stadium attendance of 26,210 saw MSU go in front on McGhee's 15-yard scoring pass to Saco product Kruiz Siewing at 7:54 of the second quarter. McGhee threw for 246 yards and ran four times on a clock-killing drive that ended in Perez's third field goal with 2:23 left. That made it a two-score game and clinched the Grizzlies' first losing season since 1985. The Griz, who missed two field goals, finished 5-6. "We knew they were big up front and knew they would be a physical team," said Schreibeis, who in January became the first Bobcat to win the Buck Buchanan Award for the top defensive player in the FCS. "We just had to weather the storm for a little bit and then let our speed kind of take control." The Cats improved to 10-1 and finished 11-2 with a loss in the FCS quarterfinals.

Montana 28, Montana State 14 - 2013, 


The 5th-ranked University of Montana Grizzlies played perhaps their best defensive game of the season and UM's offense made key plays when it needed to, as the Grizzlies defeated the host 13th-ranked Montana State Bobcats 28-14 in front of a record crowd in Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman. Montana's defense held the Bobcat offense, composed of legendary seniors DeNarius McGhee, Cody Kirk and Tanner Bleskin, to just 257 total yards and 14 points. But Shawn Johnson's 82-yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter set the tone for a low-scoring first half. The Griz tied the game on a Jordan Canada run late in the first half, and it was locked at 7-7 at intermission. Montana added a Travon Van TD early in the third, and a back breaking TD pass from Jordan Johnson to Clay Pierson early in the fourth stanza. MSU tried to rally behind McGhee, but a Kirk fumble near midfield with the score sitting at 21-14, helped UM secure the victory, and Canada sealed it with a TD run on the Grizzlies' ensuing possession. It was Montana's fourth straight win in Bobcat Stadium, and the loss was MSU's third straight to end the season, knocking the Cats out of the FCS playoff picture.

Montana 34, Montana State 7 - 2014,


On an unseasonably warm afternoon, and one of the few Cat-Griz games to ever be played almost all under lights, the No. 12 Grizzlies shocked the No. 11 Bobcats on both sides of the ball. Senior quarterback Jordan Johnson was cut loose in a surprise spread-option offensive attack, and the Griz scored on five of their first six possessions to lead 27-0 at halftime. On defense, Montana hounded MSU backup QB Jake Bleskin, in for injured starter Dakota Prukop, and forced an astounding seven turnovers, including five interceptions in front of a record crowd of 26,532 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. In the 114th meeting of the Griz and Cats, Montana punched its ticket to the FCS playoffs as Johnson threw for 303 yards and rushed for 91 more, while fellow senior Jordan Canada added 119 yards on the ground. During the game, Zack Wagenmann also broke the Griz' all-time sack record, while the Bobcats amassed just 281 yards of total offense. The win came just days after UM head coach Mick Delaney announced his retirement.

Montana 54, Montana State 35 - 2015,


The Grizzlies needed a fifth straight win in the series in Bozeman to have a chance at the FCS playoffs. The Cats needed to snap Montana's Bobcat Stadium winning streak to secure a winning season. But in a meeting of two offensive powerhouses, the Griz won out. The Griz scored 31 unanswered first-half points, including long touchdown passes by Brady Gustafson to Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson, and they capped a 37-point first-half explosion with two Daniel Sullivan field goals to lead the Cats 37-14 at the break. MSU rallied in the third period, and closed to within 44-35 with nine minutes left, but Gustafson answered with his fourth TD pass of the day, lifting Montana to its third straight win in the Brawl. The Griz racked up 537 yards to MSU's 503, and Gustafson threw for 353 yards after missing six games in the middle of the season with a broken leg. The loss to the Griz turned out to be the last for MSU head coach Rob Ash, who was fired two days later.

Montana State 24, Montana 17 - 2016


Just like Denarius McGee did in his career, Montana State freshman quarterback Chris Murray waltzed into Washington-Grizzly Stadium and and led the Bobcats to a rousing 24-17 upset of the nationally-ranked in head coach Jeff Choate's Brawl of the Wild debut. The Cats, who would win just four games that year, rolled up almost 400 yards rushing and Murray completed just three passes, but scored twice on the ground. UM senior Brady Gustafson threw two TD passes, but it wasn't enough as Montana's offense sputtered in the second half, and the Griz would miss the playoffs due to the loss.

Montana State 31, Montana 23 - 2017


Make it two in a row for Chris Murray and head coach Jeff Choate. In snowy Bobcat Stadium, the Bobcats rushed for 322 yards, which Nick LaSane churning out 161 yards on his own. Murray also picked up several dazzling third and long plays. while UM freshman QB Gresch Jensen was unable to rally the Griz, who trailed 21-3 in the second quarter. The win was the second straight in which the Cats didn't throw for 100 yards, but Murray rushed for 99, and freshman Troy Andersen scored in his Cat-Griz debut. The win also knocked the Griz out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Montana State 29, Montana 25 - 2018


The Bobcats spoiled Montana head coach Bobby Hauck's return to the rivalry in dramatic fashion. Trailing 22-0 in the second quarter, the Cats rallied to take a 29-25 lead with just under three minutes left in the game, thanks to the legs of Troy Andersen, who rushed for 100 yards and three TDs. Still, the Griz appeared to win the game on an Adam Eastwood plunge, but head coach Jeff Choate, who would win his third straight Brawl, called timeout before the score. The Griz ran Eastwood again after the timeout, only this time, he fumbled before crossing the goal line, and the Cats recovered, completing one of the biggest comebacks in Cat-Griz history, while once again knocking the Griz out of the FCS playoffs.


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