By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
Back in the 1960’s Sentinel assistant football coach Frank McElwain was friends with then Griz offensive coordinator Dave Kragthorpe. The two men remained friends for many years. Saturday night that friendship might have been strained some. Jim McElwain saw his Florida Gators fall to LSU on a late fake field goal that turned into a Touchdown pass by Brad Kragthorpe, the grandson of the former Griz assistant coach. Brad Kragthorpe has seen little game action even though he is a senior. Steve Kragthorpe, Brad’s father was a highly successful coach at Tulsa and Louisville, Steve was born in Missoula.
For the first time in 5 years the University of North Dakota football team will play in Missoula this Saturday. The last three meetings in the rivalry have all taken place in Grand Forks with Montana winning 2 of the 3 games. Back in 2010 the Montana-North Dakota game was a non-conference contest as North Dakota would not join the Big Sky until 2012.
The University of North Dakota features one of the top weapons in the Big Sky in John Santiago. Santiago is the Big Sky leader in kick-off return yards and in all-purpose yards and is the league’s fourth leading rusher.
Over the last 55 years the Grizzlies are 6-1 in games played on October 24th. The only loss on October 24th in the last half century came in 1987 when a controversial call denying the Griz a game winning TD meant a win for Weber State. Oddly enough the starting quarterback that day was Scott Werbelow who’s 23rd, birthday was that day.
Last December former UM coach Joe Glenn was one of the strongest voices endorsing Bob Stitt for the Griz head coaching position as the two men had dealt with each other numerous times over the years. Maybe Stitt returned the compliment with some info on North Dakota State as the South Dakota Coyotes upset the Bison in the Fargo Dome (my guess is that NDSU fans had to find something other than dense smoke to blame for the loss.)
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.