Montana–Montana State football rivalry

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Montana–Montana State football rivalry
Montana UM logo.gif Montana State Bobcats Logo.svg
Montana Grizzlies Montana State Bobcats

Sport(s) Football
Total meetings 114   (one vacated: 2011)
Series record Montana leads 71-37-5 (.650); with both in NCAA Montana leads 31-26 (.544); with both in Big Sky Montana leads 29-22 (.569)
First meeting November 25, 1897; 117 years ago
Montana 18, Montana State 6
Last meeting November 22, 2014 in Missoula
Montana 34, Montana State 7
Next meeting November 21, 2015 in Bozeman
Largest win Montana 79, Montana State 0 (1904)
Longest win streak Montana 16 (1986–2001)
Current win streak Montana 2 (2013–2014)
Trophy The Great Divide Trophy
Montana–Montana State football rivalry is located in Montana
University of Montana
University of Montana
Montana State University
Montana State University
Locations in Montana

The Montana–Montana State football rivalry is an annual college football rivalry game between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State University Bobcats. Primarily known as Cat-Griz, it is also referred to as Griz-Cat and the Brawl of the Wild, the winner receives the Great Divide Trophy.[1][2]

The rivalry began in 1897, making it the 31st oldest in NCAA Division I and the 11th oldest west of the Mississippi River, as well as the fourth-oldest Football Championship Subdivision rivalry and the oldest FCS rivalry west of the Mississippi. Montana leads the series 71-37-5, but that margin is considerably smaller since Montana State joined the NCAA in 1957 at 31-26. The game, especially of late, has major implications on the Big Sky Conference championship and its automatic bid to the Division I FCS tournament.

Great Divide Trophy[edit]

The Great Divide Trophy was created in 2001 by Dave Samuelson. The trophy was made possible by numerous donations. The winner of each game will possess the trophy for one year. The school with the most wins at the end of the 21st century will hold the trophy forever.

Montana was the first school to receive the trophy following their victory in the 2001 game. Since then the trophy has since changed hands eight times. As of 2014, the trophy is in the possession of Montana. Montana holds a 8-5 series lead since the trophy was introduced to the rivalry.

  • Montana was penalized by the NCAA on July 26, 2013 and forced to vacate its last five wins of the 2011 season. One win was against Montana State.
DivideTrophy

History[edit]

The rivalry began on November 26, 1897 when the two teams played in Bozeman, Montana, home of Montana State, with Montana prevailing by the score of 18-6. At the time, Montana State was known as Montana State College, while Montana was known as Montana State University. The rivalry is the 31st oldest among active rivalries in NCAA Division I and of those is the 11th oldest west of the Mississippi River. It is also the 4th oldest active rivalry in the FCS and the oldest west of the Mississippi River.

The series has three distinct periods. From 1897 to 1916 Montana State did not belong to a conference, while Montana was in the Northwest Intercollegiate Athletic Association. In addition to Montana, the Northwest Conference included Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Idaho, and Whitman College. At times they would play twice per year. Early seasons had seven games or less with one season seeing the Grizzlies play just one game. Four of the five ties in the series came during this era. Montana won 12 games to Montana State's 7.

In 1917 Montana State joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and in 1924 Montana joined what is now the Pac-12 Conference when it entered the Pacific Coast Conference. The RMAC included several teams that would become Mountain West members. When MSU joined the RMAC included Colorado, Colorado State, Utah, Utah State, and Brigham Young. When UM joined the PCC included Stanford, California, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and Idaho. The Bobcats remained in the RMAC, which dropped down to the NAIA in 1938, through 1956, while the Grizzlies remained in the PCC through 1949 and joined the Skyline (aka Mountain States) Conference,which included Colorado, Utah State, Denver, Utah, Colorado State, Brigham Young, New Mexico and Wyoming, from 1951-1961. MSU was independent from 1957-1962 and UM was independent in 1950 and 1962. During this period UM enjoyed a 30-8-1 edge in Cat-Griz games, while MSU won the NAIA national title in 1956.

Both schools entered the Big Sky Conference as charter members in 1963 with Montana holding a 42-15-2 series lead. Prior to that UM was in conferences with what are now FBS and BCS schools, while MSU was either not in a conference or in a NAIA conference, for all but 30 of the 59 games played. UM holds a 22-5-3 record in those games.

From the time Big Sky Conference play began in 1963 and up to 1985 Montana State enjoyed its most successful period of the Cat-Griz rivalry with a 17-6 win-loss record. The Bobcats won two national titles during this period. 1986 saw the beginning of a period often known in Montana as "The Streak", in which Montana won sixteen straight games in the series. A few of these games were close, but most of them gave a strong indication that the two football programs were going in very different directions. Montana won two NCAA Division 1-AA championships during "The Streak", while Montana State had one season where it failed to win a single game. Montana State finally snapped "The Streak" in 2002, winning at Montana, and the post-Streak record stands at 7-5 in favor of Montana. The Big Sky era shows Montana with a 29-22 lead. Since both teams joined the NCAA in 1957, UM holds a 31-26 lead.

While UM holds a sizeable lead in the all-time series, Montana State has won more conference championships (20) and more national championships (3). UM has won 18 league titles and two national titles.

  • Montana was penalized by the NCAA on July 26, 2013 and forced to vacate its last five wins of the 2011 season. One win was against Montana State.

Notable games[edit]

1968[edit]

In 1968, in what is considered by many as the most exciting game in the Cat-Griz series, quarterback Dennis Erickson, flanker Ron Bain and running back Paul Schafer lead a monumental comeback as the Bobcats clinch a tie for the Big Sky championship—their third straight. Trailing 24-9 in the fourth quarter, Montana State scored 20 points in the last nine minutes and won 29-24 when Schafer, who had 58 carries for 234 yards in the game, dove into the end zone with 12 seconds left. The Grizzlies appeared to have the drive stopped at the MSU 32, but a facemask penalty gave the Cats new life on the 17.

In all, 34 points are scored in the final quarter. Bain's brother, Doug of the Grizzlies, gave the Montana a 17-9 lead early in the quarter on a pass from Ray Brum. After another UM touchdown made the score 24-9 with just over 10 minutes to go as it looked as if the Grizzlies would win going away, but the Bobcats weren't done. Schaefer scored on a short run with 8:15 to play and Erickson hit Bain for a touchdown with five minutes left cutting the lead to two at 24-22.

After Schafer's touchdown, the Grizzlies nearly spoil things for MSU. UM takes over at the 20 with speedy receiver Ron Baines at quarterback. He gains 15 and another 15 are tacked on by an unnecessary roughness penalty. Baines then makes a circus run of 37 yards from midfield before he's dragged down at the MSU 13 after time expires.

1997[edit]

In another exciting finish of the series, Montana State fights back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to take a 25-24 lead on a three-yard run by Eric Kinnamon with 22 seconds to play in Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats appeared poised to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Grizzlies, but Montana wasn't done.

Thanks to a kickoff that sailed out of bounds Montana gets the ball on its own 35-yard line with no time expended off the clock. After an incomplete pass UM quarterback Brian Ah Yat finds receiver Justin Olsen for a completion of 46 yards to the MSU 19 with eight seconds to play. Ah Yat would recover his own muffed snap on the next play and after a UM timeout Kris Heppner kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired giving Montana the 27-25 win.

Just as the first half ended MSU was whistled for having too many men on the field giving UM one extra play and the Grizzlies made the Bobcats pay scoring a touchdown on the last play of the half. The Bobcats also misfired on special teams all day. Prior to kicking the ball out of bounds they failed on three conversion attempts.

1998[edit]

Montana State would get its heart broken again - not as bad as in 1997 — a year later. Leading 21-20 and ahead for most of the second half, the Bobcats fall when Dallas Neil takes a pass from Brian Ah Yat and tightropes down the sideline for an 18-yard touchdown with just over five minutes to play. UM converts the two-point attempt and the Grizzlies win 28-21.

The game is played at a slippery Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula and extends the UM winning streak over MSU to 13.

2002[edit]

The Bobcats would finally put an end to their losing streak at 16 games when true freshman quarterback Travis Lulay leads them to a 10-7 win in Missoula on a snowy, windy day. Lulay connected with Junior Adams for a 53-yard touchdown in the third quarter and, after a fumble led to Montana's lone score of the day, MSU's defense made it hold up.

The Bobcats held UM quarterback John Edwards to just 8-for-32 and 106 yards passing on the day. Edwards completed just one pass in the first half. MSU was led by senior running back Ryan Johnson, who ran for 132 yards, and cornerback Joey Thomas, who blocked a field goal and played a big role in Edwards' struggles.

2010[edit]

The Grizzlies needed a win in their final regular season game to continue its string of 12 straight conference championships and 17 straight playoff appearances. The Bobcats needed a win to clinch the conference title and a seed in the playoffs. With the game being played in Missoula the Grizzlies appeared to have the advantage, but MSU scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and made them hold up for a 21-16 win with clutch defensive play in the second half.

UM advanced the ball inside the MSU 10-yard line twice in the second half, but the Bobcats forced fumbles, including one by star running back Chase Reynolds, both times. UM drove to the MSU 14 for a first and 10 with under two minutes to play, but MSU defensive end Dustin O'Connell came through for the Bobcats. O'Connell, who just returned from a severely broken collarbone, and linebacker Jody Owens dropped Reynolds for a one-yard loss on first down, O'Connell then hurried UM quarterback Justin Roper into throwing an incomplete pass on second down and batted down a pass intended for a wide open Kavario Middleton on third down. Roper threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down. UM would get one more chance moving the ball to the MSU 34, but the Bobcats sealed the win with an interception on the goal line by senior captain Michael Rider on the last play of the game.

2011[edit]

Montana State entered the 111th clash as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation for the first time since 1985. The Grizzlies put an end to that in humiliating fashion with a 36-10 win in front of the largest crowd (20,247) to attend a Cat-Griz game in Bozeman.

A safety by UM cornerback Trumaine Johnson helped set up a short TD pass on a fourth-down pass late in the first half to give UM 12-0 lead. After Montana State scored quickly to start the second half, the Grizzlies answered on the next play with an 79-yard bomb from Jordan Johnson to Jabin Sambrano and UM cruised from there. Montana finished the game with 309 yards rushing.

On July 26, 2013, Montana vacated this win and four others from the 2011 season after an NCAA investigation found that the university had insufficiently monitored its football program, enabling boosters to provide gifts and services to players against NCAA regulations. The investigation determined that boosters had provided bail and free legal counsel to two players, cornerback Trumaine Johnson and backup quarterback Gerald Kemp, and that six boosters had provided smaller benefits to players over 100 times between 2004 and 2012. As part of the penalties, Montana voluntarily vacated five wins from the 2011 season, including the Montana State game.[3]

2012[edit]

Montana hadn't had a losing season since 1986, the year it moved into Washington-Grizzly Stadium, but that would all change as the Bobcats won 16-7 to take their second straight win and third in six tries in the toughest road venue in the FCS. The loss left the Grizzlies with a 5-6 overall mark and a 3-5 conference mark. They finished the year 3-3 at home, the first time they failed to finish above .500 at WGS.

After a first-quarter touchdown gave UM a 7-3 lead, MSU didn't allow another point and only gave up 192 yards in holding Montana to one of its lowest scoring outputs in stadium history. Kruiz Siewing from tiny Saco, Mont. scored MSU's only TD on a pass from DeNarius McGhee and Rory Perez kicked three field goals, including the game-clincher with 2:32 to play.

Game results[edit]

# Year Winning team Losing team Series
1 1897 Montana 18 Montana State 6 Montana leads 1-0
2 1898 Montana 6 Montana State 0 Montana leads 2-0
3 1898 Montana 16 Montana State 0 Montana leads 3-0
4 1899 Montana State 5 Montana 0 Montana leads 3-1
5 1899 Montana State 38 Montana 0 Montana leads 3-2
6 1900 Montana State 38 Montana 0 Series tied 3-3
7 1901 Montana State 31 Montana 0 Montana State leads 4-3
8 1902 Montana State 38 Montana 0 Montana State leads 5-3
9 1903 Montana State 13 Montana 6 Montana State leads 6-3
10 1904 Montana 79 Montana State 0 Montana State leads 6-4
- 1905 Montana State abolished football program by faculty decree
- 1906
- 1907
11 1908 Montana 0 Montana State 0 Montana State leads 6-4-1
12 1908 Montana State 5 Montana 0 Montana State leads 7-4-1
13 1909 Montana 3 Montana State 0 Montana State leads 7-5-1
14 1909 Montana 15 Montana State 5 Montana State leads 7-6-1
15 1910 Montana 0 Montana State 0 Montana State leads 7-6-2
16 1910 Montana 10 Montana State 0 Series tied 7-7-2
- 1911 Game cancelled following the death of a Montana State player
17 1912 Montana 7 Montana State 0 Montana leads 8-7-2
18 1912 Montana 39 Montana State 3 Montana leads 9-7-2
19 1913 Montana 7 Montana State 0 Montana leads 10-7-2
20 1913 Montana 20 Montana State 7 Montana leads 11-7-2
21 1914 Montana 26 Montana State 9 Montana leads 12-7-2
- 1915 No game was played
22 1916 Montana 6 Montana State 6 Montana leads 12-7-3
23 1917 Montana 9 Montana State 7 Montana leads 13-7-3
- 1918 Game not played due to World War I
24 1919 Montana 6 Montana State 6 Montana leads 13-7-4
25 1920 Montana 28 Montana State 0 Montana leads 14-7-4
26 1921 Montana 14 Montana State 7 Montana leads 15-7-4
27 1922 Montana 7 Montana State 6 Montana leads 16-7-4
28 1923 Montana 24 Montana State 13 Montana leads 17-7-4
- 1924 No game was played
29 1925 Montana 28 Montana State 7 Montana leads 18-7-4
30 1926 Montana 27 Montana State 0 Montana leads 19-7-4
31 1927 Montana 6 Montana State 0 Montana leads 20-7-4
32 1928 Montana 0 Montana State 0 Montana leads 20-7-5
33 1929 Montana State 14 Montana 12 Montana leads 20-8-5
34 1930 Montana 13 Montana State 6 Montana leads 21-8-5
35 1931 Montana 37 Montana State 6 Montana leads 22-8-5
36 1932 Montana State 10 Montana 7 Montana leads 22-9-5
37 1933 Montana 32 Montana State 0 Montana leads 23-9-5
38 1934 Montana 25 Montana State 0 Montana leads 24-9-5
39 1935 Montana 20 Montana State 0 Montana leads 25-9-5
40 1936 Montana 27 Montana State 0 Montana leads 26-9-5
41 1937 Montana 19 Montana State 0 Montana leads 27-9-5
42 1938 Montana 13 Montana State 0 Montana leads 28-9-5
43 1939 Montana 6 Montana State 0 Montana leads 29-9-5
44 1940 Montana 6 Montana State 0 Montana leads 30-9-5
45 1941 Montana 23 Montana State 13 Montana leads 31-9-5
- 1942 Games not played due to World War II
- 1943
- 1944
- 1945
46 1946 Montana 20 Montana State 7 Montana leads 32-9-5
47 1947 Montana State 13 Montana 12 Montana leads 32-10-5
48 1948 Montana 14 Montana State 0 Montana leads 33-10-5
49 1949 Montana 34 Montana State 12 Montana leads 34-10-5
50 1950 Montana 33 Montana State 0 Montana leads 35-10-5
51 1951 Montana 38 Montana State 0 Montana leads 36-10-5
52 1952 Montana 35 Montana State 12 Montana leads 37-10-5
53 1953 Montana 32 Montana State 13 Montana leads 38-10-5
54 1954 Montana 25 Montana State 12 Montana leads 39-10-5
55 1955 Montana 19 Montana State 0 Montana leads 40-10-5
56 1956 Montana State 33 Montana 14 Montana leads 40-11-5
MSU join the NCAA
57 1957 Montana State 22 Montana 13 Montana leads 40-12-5
58 1958 Montana State 20 Montana 6 Montana leads 40-13-5
59 1959 Montana State 40 Montana 6 Montana leads 40-14-5
60 1960 Montana 10 Montana State 6 Montana leads 41-14-5
61 1961 Montana State 10 Montana 9 Montana leads 41-15-5
62 1962 Montana 36 Montana State 19 Montana leads 42-15-5
UM and MSU become charter members of the Big Sky Conference
63 1963 Montana State 18 Montana 3 Montana leads 42-16-5
64 1964 Montana State 30 Montana 6 Montana leads 42-17-5
65 1965 Montana State 24 Montana 7 Montana leads 42-18-5
66 1966 Montana State 38 Montana 0 Montana leads 42-19-5
67 1967 Montana State 14 Montana 8 Montana leads 42-20-5
68 1968 Montana State 29 Montana 24 Montana leads 42-21-5
69 1969 Montana 7 Montana State 6 Montana leads 43-21-5
70 1970 Montana 35 Montana State 0 Montana leads 44-21-5
71 1971 Montana 30 Montana State 0 Montana leads 45-21-5
72 1972 Montana State 21 Montana 3 Montana leads 45-22-5
73 1973 Montana State 33 Montana 7 Montana leads 45-23-5
74 1974 Montana State 43 Montana 29 Montana leads 45-24-5
75 1975 Montana State 20 Montana 3 Montana leads 45-25-5
76 1976 Montana State 21 Montana 12 Montana leads 45-26-5
77 1977 Montana State 24 Montana 19 Montana leads 45-27-5
78 1978 Montana 24 Montana State 8 Montana leads 46-27-5
79 1979 Montana State 38 Montana 21 Montana leads 46-28-5
80 1980 Montana State 24 Montana 7 Montana leads 46-29-5
81 1981 Montana 27 Montana State 17 Montana leads 47-29-5
82 1982 Montana 45 Montana State 15 Montana leads 48-29-5
83 1983 Montana State 28 Montana 8 Montana leads 48-30-5
84 1984 Montana State 34 Montana 24 Montana leads 48-31-5
85 1985 Montana State 41 Montana 18 Montana leads 48-32-5
86 1986 Montana 59 Montana State 28 Montana leads 49-32-5
87 1987 Montana 55 Montana State 7 Montana leads 50-32-5
88 1988 Montana 17 Montana State 3 Montana leads 51-32-5
89 1989 Montana 17 Montana State 2 Montana leads 52-32-5
90 1990 Montana 35 Montana State 18 Montana leads 53-32-5
91 1991 Montana 16 Montana State 9 Montana leads 54-32-5
92 1992 Montana 29 Montana State 17 Montana leads 55-32-5
93 1993 Montana 42 Montana State 30 Montana leads 56-32-5
94 1994 Montana 55 Montana State 20 Montana leads 57-32-5
95 1995 Montana 42 Montana State 33 Montana leads 58-32-5
96 1996 Montana 35 Montana State 14 Montana leads 59-32-5
97 1997 Montana 27 Montana State 25 Montana leads 60-32-5
98 1998 Montana 28 Montana State 21 Montana leads 61-32-5
99 1999 Montana 49 Montana State 3 Montana leads 62-32-5
100 2000 Montana 28 Montana State 3 Montana leads 63-32-5
101 2001 Montana 38 Montana State 27 Montana leads 64-32-5
102 2002 Montana State 10 Montana 7 Montana leads 64-33-5
103 2003 Montana State 27 Montana 20 Montana leads 64-34-5
104 2004 Montana 38 Montana State 22 Montana leads 65-34-5
105 2005 Montana State 16 Montana 6 Montana leads 65-35-5
106 2006 Montana 13 Montana State 7 Montana leads 66-35-5
107 2007 Montana 41 Montana State 20 Montana leads 67-35-5
108 2008 Montana 35 Montana State 3 Montana leads 68-35-5
109 2009 Montana 33 Montana State 19 Montana leads 69-35-5
110 2010 Montana State 21 Montana 16 Montana leads 69-36-5
111 2011 Montana 36 * Montana State 10 * Montana leads 69-36-5 *
112 2012 Montana State 16 Montana 7 Montana leads 69-37-5
113 2013 Montana 28 Montana State 14 Montana leads 70-37-5
114 2014 Montana 34 Montana State 7 Montana leads 71-37-5
115 2015 Scheduled for November 21 in Bozeman
^* Montana was penalized by the NCAA on July 26, 2013 and forced to vacate its last five wins of the 2011 season, including the win against Montana State.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meseroll, Bob (November 18, 2013). "Since 1897, the Cat-Griz rivalry has captivated the state". Missoulian. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ Rachac, Greg (November 23, 2013). "Grizzlies surge past Bobcats, 28-14". Billings Gazette. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "NCAA penalizes Univ. of Montana over booster perks". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. July 26, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]