The Bounce of the Football – UM Griz vs. N Iowa Panthers

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Editor’s note: To help you get stoked for Friday night’s FCS playoff game under the lights, we’ve got a Griz photo caption contest and some UM-UNI trivia, courtesy of Chris Walterskichen. Leave your captions in the comments below to enter for a chance to win a prize from a local business!

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

  • As they enter their Friday night showdown in the FCS playoffs, Montana and Northern Iowa both sport impressive histories of success. Since the start of their 2003 seasons, the Grizzlies and Panthers have combined to win l80 games (97 for the Griz and 83 for the Panthers).
  • Over the past 30 years, the Griz and Panthers have faced each other four times on the football field with the Griz winning all four games.
  • When the Panthers first came to Missoula in 1981, their linebackers coach was Mike Brieske, who’s currently in his second tour of duty as Montana’s defensive coordinator.
  • While it has been ten years since the Grizzlies and Panthers have met, each has played members of the other’s conference most recently. In the last five years, the Grizzlies have hosted and defeated Missouri Valley Conference members Southern Illinois (2006) and South Dakota State (2009) in the FCS playoffs. Northern has home playoff wins over Big Sky members Montana State (2003) and Eastern Washington (2005).
  • Of the eight schools left in the 2011 FCS playoffs, only three have won national championships. Georgia has claimed six FCS titles (between 1985-2000) Montana has two crowns (1995 and 2001), and Montana State won a national title in 1984.
  • Playing a post-season game on December 9 brings back fond memories for both UM and UNI. The Montana Griz are 2-1 on December 9, two of which werea national semifinal game wins at home (1995 and 2000). 2000 was an overtime thriller over Appalachian State. The Panthers of Northern Iowa defeated Texas State at San Marcos, Texas on December 9, 2005 to earn their first-ever trip to the FCS title game.
  • In 2011, for the first time ever, both the Grizzlies and the Bobcats have won at least 10 games. This is the second time both the Grizzlies and Bobcats have reached the FCS quarterfinals. In 2006, the Griz defeated Southern Illinois in the round of eight, while the Bobcats lost to eventual national champs Appalachian State.
  • Over the past decade, the Montana State Bobcats football program has taken a giant step forward. Since the start of the 2002 season MSU has won 74 football games in comparison to the 46 wins they posted from 1992-2001. On the other hand, the Montana Grizzlies have just kept rolling along with 108 wins since the start of the 2002 season, after posting 107 wins between 1992-2001.

Little Mo, big tuba. Click to see photolarger.

Contest time!

Little Mo has grown into a big-time entertainer since he was introduced in 2009. Patrick Record got this smile-inducing snapshot of him at last week’s game against Central Arkansas, and we think it deserves a caption.

Leave your caption in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a sweet prize. Go Griz!