UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

When the University of Montana Grizzlies face the Montana state University Bobcats in football it is traditionally a memorable game. One recent unique aspect of the rivalry is that 4 of the last five Griz-Cat games have been won by the visitor; the only win by the home team was when Montana donned their retro jersey in 2008 and pounded the Cats35-3.

For the first time the Bobcats enter their game with the Griz with 9 wins on the season.  From 1996 to 2009 the Griz entered their game with the cats have won at 9 games 8 times.

A bobcat win Saturday would mark MSU’s first back to back wins in Missoula since they won three times in a row from 1972-76.

Montana is playing not only for a win over the Bobcats but to preserve their string of 26 consecutive winning seasons. The last time Montana entered the final game of the season with a 500 record was 1992 when they needed to rebound from a 14 point deficit to defeat Idaho State in Pocatello.

There hasn’t been a shutout in this series since Montana downed the Cats 30-0 in Bozeman in 1971. A Griz-Cat game hasn’t gone to overtime or ended in a tie since 1928.

Griz coach Mick Delaney has a unique perspective on this rivalry having spent 4 seasons as an assistant at MSU ( from 1978-81). Counting his years on the Grizzly and Bobcat staff Delaney is 3-4 in this rivalry.

Rob Ash may have become the winning coach in Bobcat football history last Saturday but he has a bit of a blemish on his resume. Ash for all his 48 wins is just 1-4 against the Griz, and the 4 Griz wins have come by an average margin of 22.5 points per game.
Speaking of the Bobcats, a former MSU star is a member of the Minot State Beavers coaching staff that will be in for a Wednesday Night game. Bobby Howard helped the Bobcats reach the 2009 Big Sky title game and left MSU as one of the school’s top scorer and rebounders. Howard’s mother Kathleen starred for the MSU women’s basketball team in the 1980’s, while Grandmother Rosemary McLaughlin refereed in the Conference for a decade.

When Rob Ash recruited Frenchtown star running back Cody Kirk he had no idea the package deal he was getting. It would turn out that Kirk’s pre-school age sister, Annie would be an inspiration on and off the field to the Bobcat team. Annie talks to the players before and after games, and they delight in her antics. Annie has even gotten some of her Bobcat buddies to come visit her childcare Center. Annie celebrated her 6th birthday this fall the night before a home game and invited about 50 of her Blue-and-Gold buddies to attend.

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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 costumedmascot.

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.