UM Sports Trivia | Week of Sept 2

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

The Montana Grizzlies were part of an impressive week for the Big Sky Conference. The Big Sky went 9-3 for the opening weekend with Eastern Washington’s win over Oregon State the highlight.  Two of the three loses were to 2012 bowl teams and the third was UC-Davis’ loss to Joe Glenn’s South Dakota Coyotes.

This week the MSU Bobcats get their shot at a win over an FBS school as they travel to Dallas to face resurgent Southern Methodist. Between 1987 and 2001 Montana state won 61 football games while SMU won 55. The Mustangs program was trying to recover from the “Death Penalty” the Bobcats were trying to recover from sanctions administered by Don Read and the Griz (in that same span of years the Grizzlies won 146 games). Southern Methodist has made four consecutive bowl appearances under June Jones.

Twenty years ago Wednesday (September 4, 1993) was a significant day in sports. In Missoula the Grizzlies were opening their football season hosting a strong South Dakota State team. Before the game UM introduced its new mascot an animated bear dubbed “Monte” and then a new quarterback Dave Dickenson. The Griz were late in the third quarter trailing the Jack Rabbits 38-7 when Dickenson got the offense going  and the Griz came all the way back to win 52-48 a win that gave Don Read his 52nd victory as head coach setting a new record for a Griz head coach. At Yankee Stadium that same afternoon Yankees’ pitcher Jim Abbott threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. What made Abbott’s performance even more noteworthy was the fact that he was born with just one hand and through his baseball he had to flip the glove to his left hand when fielding.

It was ten years ago Friday that the Missoula Osprey played their final game at their temporary home of Lindborg-Cregg Field. The Osprey had played five seasons at the Legion Baseball facility including their Pioneer League Championship season of 1999.

Forty years ago this week one Grizzly football tradition ended while a new rivalry began. The Grizzlies opened their 1973 season with a rout of Simon Fraser University of British Columbia at Memorial Stadium in Great Falls it was the final “neutral site” home game for the Griz, who had for more than 30 years played games in Butte, Great Falls or Billings in September before students had returned to campus. That night marked the head coaching debut of Missoula native and CFL star Pokey Allen. Allen would face the Griz as an opposing head coach 11 times between 1973 and 1995. Allen would take Portland state to the Division II title game in 1988 and Boise State to the FCS title game in 1994.

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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.