UM Sports Trivia | Week of Jan 5

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

As of Monday, January 5th, for the first time in the 125 years that Montana has been a state both of its seats in the US Senate will be held by Bobcats. Yes, both Jon Tester and Steve Daines have degrees from MSU. This despite the fact that UM has won 24 of the last 29 “Brawl of the Wild” football games.

North Dakota State will be going for history Saturday when they face the Wildcats of New Hampshire for the FCS national title, a “fourpeat”. In 2008 Appalachian state entered the play-offs with a chance for a fourth consecutive title but were beaten in the second round of the play-offs. The Bison and Wildcats met in the 2013 play-off semi-finals and NDSU romped in the Fargo Dome.

Speaking of North Dakota State and New Hampshire, in 1976 those were the two schools the Montana State Bobcats had to defeat to reach the Division II national title game. Another connection between those Bobcats and this year’s FBS title game is Oregon passing game coordinator Matt Lubick, who’s dad Sonny was MSU defensive coordinator with that 1976 title team.  Yet another connection between the Cats of 1976 and the Current Ducks is each team played for a national title in Texas against a school from Ohio (the Bobcats in Wichita Falls against Akron and now the Ducks against Ohio State. Ironically J.T. Barnet who was the Buckeyes QB most of the season is from Whitchta Falls Texas.) Lubick gained some national media attention when he consumed a hamburger on the field at the Rose Bowl to keep a promise to his players (Lubick stopped eating red meat due to kidney problems as a teen and Thursday’s burger was his first piece of red meat in 26 years. Even among Montana’s political leaders Oregon and Ohio State alums are present. Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is a grad of the University of Oregon while Secretary of State Linda McCullough is Ohio State alum.

It was 40 years ago this weekend that the University’s first sanctioned women’s basketball team took the floor for its opening weekend of play. Until the 1974-75 season women’s sports had primarily been on the club or intramural level. That first weekend Montana debuted the “Honey Bears” and the team went 1-1 beating MSU but falling to a powerful Flathead Valley Community College team.

Weber State comes to face the Lady Griz after losing their first two Conference games at home. The Wildcats are looking for their first trip to the Big Sky Tournament since 2008. Weber has maybe the top freshman in the Big Sky this season in guard Kailie Quinn who comes to Ogden after starring for nationally renowned Judge Memorial of Salt Lake.

griz readersSaturday’s foe, Idaho State, has forward Anna Polichio who is among the national leaders in shot blocks along with UM’s Carly Selvig. Polichio grew up in Su St. Marie Ontario better known for its puck blockers than its shotblockers.

Lady Griz senior star guard Kellie Cole Ruble has had many great moments at Dahlberg Arena, but her father has very different memories of the place. Mike Cole was the highly successful head coach of the Bozeman High Hawks for nearly two decades but in that time his teams made just one visit to Dahlberg Arena. In the 2004 State AA basketball tournament the Hawks lost out in two games.

One item in Jim Harbaugh’s resume that we must clarify: In a Michigan press release concerning the hiring of Harbaugh it mentioned that during his time as the Wolverine starting quarterback Harbaugh led Michigan to the national title game, well kind of. In Harbaugh’s sophomore season the Wolverines got an invite to the Holiday Bowl to face top-ranked and undefeated BYU. While BYU was playing to secure their claim to the national title Michigan was trying to avoid a 6-6 season. BYU won the game and the national title. Another item from Jim Harbaugh’s college days. On NFL draft day in April of 1987 Harbaugh was expected to go fairly quickly, but had to wait a couple rounds longer than expected. As he waited for his name to be called Harbaugh felt worse and worse. Turns out Harbaugh had contracted the Chicken Pox.

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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.