UM Sports Trivia | Week of Nov 17

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

It is one thing for the Montana Grizzlies to trail  the MSU Bobcats 45-40 in wins this decade, it would be an entirely difference matter if the Bobcats were able to win a third straight time in Missoula. No opponent has won three straight times at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in the arena’s 29 season history. While the Grizzlies have posted double-digit wins over MSU in their last four visits to Bozeman the Cats haven’t won in Missoula by double-digits since 1984. The last time the Bobcats have won 3 straight in Missoula was 1972-76. Another fact that the Bobcats and their fans like is the fact that the road team has won the last five “Brawl of the Wilds”. In 2008 Montana wore throwback jerseys to inspire them to a 35-3 romp in Missoula.

The Grizzly defense has much better stats than their counterpoints from MSU. The Griz average giving 8 fewer points and 100 fewer yards in Big Sky play than the cats. However MSU scored an average of 11 more points per game than the Griz and has 100 yards in offense.

Special teams on both sides will be tested. The Griz’ Jon Ngyuen is third in the Big Sky in punt returns while the Cats’ Gunner Brekke leads the league in kick-off returns.

A Grizzly win Saturday would give both teams 8 wins on the season, this would be only the third time in their football history that both schools have exceeded 7 wins–2006 and 2011 being the two previous seasons.

At this writing it is unclear whether both teams will have their top quarterback available for the big game. If it is a battle of back-ups it would mark the first time since 1995 that both starting QBs were Montana natives (Kalispell Shea Smithwick-Hann for the Griz and Great falls native Jake Bleskin for the Cats).

Griz FlagSaturday’s Griz-Cat game will mark the end of an era in Grizzly athletics. Montana Sports Information Director Dave Guffey will be working his final regular season home football game and his 37th “Brawl of the Wild.” Guffey is leaving UM at the end of the current academic year. “Guff” has been a part of nearly 60% of Montana’s all-time footballwins.

In 1970 The Flathead Braves posted a 9-0-1 record and claimed the AA state football crown, but that remains the last state football title for a Kalispell school.  Friday night’s AA title game will be the first in Kalispell since 1980.  A Wolf Pack win would mark the second fastest run to a State football Championship in the AA ranks. This is Glacier High’s 8th season and that is bettered only by Helena Capitol who claimed their first crown in 1978 in the school’s sixth season of football.

This coming Sunday the Montana Grizzly basketball team goes to Seattle to take on the University of Seattle. It will be the Griz first visit to the University of Seattle in 41 years. From back in the 1940’s to the early 1970’s Seattle was a college basketball powerhouse and a frequent NCAA tournament participant. The program was shutdown a couple of times in the past 4 decades but is now back and making noise in the Western Athletic Conference.

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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.