Photo Gallery: Griz Fall to the Cats 16-7 in 2012 Brawl of the Wild

By AUSTIN SMITH

The Montana Grizzlies suffered their third home loss Saturday, a season-ending 16-7 struggle against their conference rival the Montana State Bobcats.

Hopes ran high for a record Washington-Grizzly Stadium crowd of 26,210, but freshman kicker Chris Lider’s missed field goal early in the first quarter placed the proverbial writing on the wall for Montana.  The Bobcats pulled first blood on a 42-yard field goal, but Griz running back Peter Nguyen quickly answered back with a 47-yard touchdown dash.

Nguyen logged a total of 112 yards in his final game for the Grizzlies, the sixth game this season he has broken the 100-yard mark.

Plagued by penalties and ultimately giving up a touchdown pass, the Griz headed into halftime down 10-7 and came back to an equally unproductive third quarter.  Redshirt sophomore quarterback Shay Smithwick-Hann completed only 24 of 43 attempted passes on the day, overthrowing several sideline routes in the second half but still managing to secure 190 total yards for the contest.

Midway through the third quarter the ‘Cats booted in another field goal to put the Griz down 13-7, and capped off scoring for the day by splitting the uprights yet again with approximately 2 minutes left in regulation.

Contrary to the offense’s poor showing, junior linebacker Brock Coyle and the Griz defense had a statistically impressive day.  Coyle smashed in a career-high of 19 total tackles, and, with help from Jordan Tripp’s 13 takedowns, held the Bobcats to only 107 rushing yards.

Lacking a 2012 playoff berth, the hometown Griz will turn their attention to next season’s 12-game schedule, opening with an August 31st contest against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)

The Montana bench shows its support during opening kickoff.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
The Montana bench sh...
Jaycie Johns, left, and Jordan Grace watch the Grizzlies' season come to a close.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Jaycie Johns, left, ...
Griz linebacker John Kanongata'a tackles Bobcat running back Cody Kirk while Josh Harris (#96) pursues.  Kanongata'a ended the day with eight total tackles.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Griz linebacker John...
Redshirt senior Josh Harris barely misses bringing Bobcat quarterback DeNarius McGhee down for a safety, thanks to the efforts of MSU offensive tackle Steven Foster.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Redshirt senior Josh...
Redshirts Zach Peevey (#93, defensive tackle) and Ryan Herrera (wide receiver) cheer on their teammates from the railing of the student section.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Redshirts Zach Peeve...
A lone Montana State fan braves the sea of maroon in seating section 104 on Saturday.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
A lone Montana State...
Prior to the commencement of the second half, Montana State linebacker Aleksei Grosulak and his fellow Bobcats each take a knee for a brief prayer on the goal line.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Prior to the commenc...
Junior linebacker Brock Coyle takes instruction from defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak late in Saturday's loss to Montana State.  Coyle tallied a career-high 19 tackles and helped contain the Bobcats to only 107 rushing yeards.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Junior linebacker Br...
Standout running back Peter Nguyen (#28) waits for teammate Bryce Carver to block incoming Montana State defensive back Deonte Flowers.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Standout running bac...
Justin Mitchell, right, and Trey Morger during one of the Grizzlies' second quarter defensive series. Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Justin Mitchell, rig...
Alex Bienemann (#92) and Jordan Tripp let out some grizzly roars after Bienemann's tackle at the line during the first half of Saturday's loss.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Alex Bienemann (#92)...
Sophomore free safety Matt Hermanson (#12) is mobbed by teammates Nate Harris (#11) and John Kanongata'a after making an interception with ten seconds left in the first half of Saturday's loss to Montana State.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., November 17th, 2012.
Sophomore free safet...

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Austin Smith in a tie

Austin Smith is a 21-year resident of the Missoula area, and an ardent fisherman, hunter, and snowboarder. When not working on the University of Montana campus, taking classes in the Journalism program, or contributing to the social media efforts of several local organizations, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his Akita and his family.