TICKETS: $25 (1-88-88-UIDAHO)
TV: Live, FOX Sports Northwest
SERIES RECORD: UI leads 55-24-2
Although Idaho has dominated this rivalry which dates back 99 years (55-24-2), Montana (1-0 BSC, 4-0), last season's 1-AA National Champion, has come out on top the last 2 seasons. All 3 meetings between UI and Montana since 1999 (the teams did not play in '96, '97, and '98) have been decided on the last possession, with Idaho's last victory coming 3 years ago in 1999 in Missoula on a last second field goal. Last year Idaho, sporting a 1-9 record, went to Missoula and nearly pulled out the victory, eventually falling to the Griz in double overtime, 33-27.
In a nutshell on this year's Grizzlies, they've won big on the road (at Hofstra 21-0), and they've taken care of business at home (beating Albany 45-7, Northern Colorado 31-14, and Idaho State 13-9). They stand at the top of the Division 1-AA rankings, haven't lost a Big Sky Conference game in years, and have played for 1-AA National Championship 4 of the past 7 years. As is characteristic with Montana the past 20 years, you can take it to the bank that they will be loaded and ready when they make the trek to Moscow for the 82nd edition of the Border War.
Below is a quick glimpse at the players to look for this weekend, followed by links to additional information on the Montana Grizzlies.
Mark Humphrey / AP
|#30 Tate Hancock celebrates Montana's 1-AA National Championship last season.|
Projected starting lineup:
QB John Edwards, 6-1, 200, Sr
RB David Gober, 5-9, 190, RS-Fr
TE Conor Molloy, 6-5, 250, So
WR(H) Dane Oliver, 5-8, 155, Jr
WR(X) Rory Zikmund, 5-10, 192, Sr
WR(Y) Jon Talmage, 6-4, 200, RS-Fr
LT Dylan McFarland, 6-6, 295, Jr
LG Cory Procter, 6-5, 295, So
C Brian Pelc, 6-4, 285, Sr
RG Derek Decker, 6-5, 295, Jr
RT Jon Skinner, 6-6, 310, Jr
This season Montana is dealing with the loss of several key personnel from last year's national Championship team, including the loss of their all-time leading rusher, their top 2 TEs, and two top receivers. However, these losses appear to have little impact on their win-loss record or their national 1-AA standing. Quarterback John Edwards is ranked 19th in the nation in Total Offense (242.75 YPG), and receiver Rory Zikmund is ranked 23rd in receptions per game (6.00). Redshirt freshman runningback David Gober ran for 84 yards on 20 carries last week against Idaho State.
What will likely be the strength of Montana's team for several years to come is a line that this year returns 4 of 5 starters, including All-America candidate Dylan McFarland. Its as big a line as any we've faced this season, and will again be a good test for our defensive front.
Mark Humphrey / AP
|#4 Dave DeCoite gets congratulated by his coach during the 1-AA National Championship game.|
Projected starting lineup:
DE Ciche Pitcher, 6-4, 240, Jr
DT John Cahill, 6-2, 270, So
NT Blake Horgan, 6-3, 275, So
DE Tim Bush, 6-3, 245, Jr
MIKE Joel Robinson, 5-11, 230, Jr
WILL Adam Hoge, 5-11, 215, So
NICK Kyle Scholle, 6-0, 190, So
CB Vernon Smith, 6-1, 175, Jr
SS Dave DeCoite, 6-1, 193, Jr
FS Trey Young, 6-0, 200, Sr
CB Johnnie Peoples, 5-8, 180, Sr
Defensively, up-front all of their starters return from a year ago, but they've lost their starting MLB, WLB, one CB, and senior ironman Vince Huntsberger at SS. The group is as solid as ever, however, having given up no more than 14 points in any game yet this season. Among 1-AA rankings, their rushing defense is ranked 7th (53 YPG) and their scoring defense is ranked 6th (7.50 PPG). Last week against ISU they allowed only 3 field goals in the game.
Last week senior free safety Trey Young had 8 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and recovered a fumble. Trey is tied for 3rd in the Big Sky for tackles for loss (2.00 per game), and 1st in fumbles recovered (3 on the year). Obviously, he's one to watch for in the backfield. The linebackers are young but mobile and aggressive, particularly against the run.
As is the case with the offense, defensively Montana's strength is on the line. All 4 starters return from a year ago, with sophomores on the interior and juniors on the ends. This certainly is not a large group compared to the teams Idaho has played thus far, but they are every bit as aggressive, with plenty of playing experience under their belt. Our offensive line (also returning mostly in tact) and their defensive line should have no trouble renewing the friendship they fostered last season.
University of Montana Official Athletic Site
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