By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
Over the last 30 years the Grizzly football team has dealt well going into and coming out of a bye week. Since 1985 the Griz have gone 19-6 before an off-week and 18-6 following the break. Two bye weeks in a season happens rarely in the FCS classification, but it once happened in the NFL. In 1993 the NFL extend the regular season and gave each team 2 byes during the season. Strangely enough for the only time in Super Bowl history the Super Bowl saw a rematch of the previous year’s match-up with Dallas thumping Buffalo.
While the Griz rest the Montana state Bobcats face an important conference game match-up facing Portland State in the Rose city. The Bobcats have a historical advantage having won their last 8 meetings with the Vikings dating back to 2005. On the other hand the Vikings of 2015 have two road wins over FBS opponents who played in a bowl game within the last 2 seasons–Washington State and North Texas.
While MSU is an offensive power in the Big Sky, Portland State has in large part hung their hat on defense. The Vikings are tops in scoring defense and tops against the pass.
We have in the recent past noted the victory draughts at Kansas and Wyoming, but neither can claim the longest active losing streak in Division 1-A. The Aggies of New Mexico State have lost their last 15 consecutive games. The Aggies are 3-26 during their 3 seasons under head coach Doug Martin.
On the other side of the coin Temple won a total of 12 games the past 3 seasons but are now 5-0 and nationally ranked.
Of the 8 schools that had teams reach the Elite in last March’s men’s NCAA basketball tournament 5 have football teams currently ranked– led by Michigan State at No. 3. Both Kentucky and Louisville still have chances for a bowl trip. Then there is the eighth school and they have not had football in over 65 years.
Currently New York Jets running back Chris Ivory stands fourth in the NFL in rushing yards. Ivory had a rough road to the NFL. He showed promise in his first three seasons at Washington State, but was sent packing after the coaching change that put Paul Wulf in charge of the Cougs. Ivory then ended up at Tiffin, a small D-II school in Ohio but injuries cut short his season. Ivory went undrafted but the staff at Tiffin got the New Orleans Saints to give him a tryout and then he played in New Orleans for 3 seasons before being traded to the Jets in 2013.
Forty years ago David Meyers the captain and leading scorer of the UCLA Bruins earned a niche in Grizzly basketball lore. Meyers was assigned to Griz guard/forward Eric Hays in the West Regional semi-finals. Hays took Meyers to school going through and around the Bruins star on his way to 32 points and a near upset of the Bruins. Meyers would play five seasons in the NBA but he felt a higher calling and retired to focus on promoting his religious beliefs with the Jehovah Witness church. In 1992 Meyers was watching the women’s Final Four when his sister Anne expressed surprise that Montana was a Divison I school (the subject came up as UM’s Shannon Cate was a first team All-American that season.) Dave Meyers came out of the crowd to explain to Anne that Montana was definitely a D-I school. Meyers was also at Pauley Pavillion in december of 2010 when the Griz beat the Bruins and joined Griz fans after the game to offer congrats. Meyers lost a long battle with cancer Saturday morning.
Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumed mascot.
Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament
When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.