By Brandon Hansen and Dylan Kitzan
Being from Eastern Washington and being (gasp!) EWU Eagles, we're a bit new to all the Griz-Cat game stuff since the closest thing we have to a Big Sky rivalry are the hipsters at Portland State. However, we decided to experience the rivalry between the heroic boys in maroon from Montana and the talented Bobcats of MSU but took opposite teams to root for.
Brandon chose Montana State because apparently Griz fans have a bounty out for his head after some columns he wrote back in college about the University of Montana. Dylan, by default, had to root for the Grizzlies and went as far as making sure he was decked out in Griz gear for the big game.
While we had planned on going to a local establishment for the big game, a late night of playing Halo (needed research for our article) the previous evening meant we barely had time to get set at home for the matchup.
Right away Brandon got a little worried when MSU's uniforms made the Bobcats look like the St. Louis Rams from afar. If you've seen the Rams play this season you know that's a bad omen.
The banter started almost immediately as we found ourselves naturally at odds with one another.
"First doooown Grizzlies!" Dylan cheered.
"I don't think that's how it goes," Brandon quipped back.
"It's probably not."
In one of the more interesting moments of the afternoon, Montana runs a genius trick play, one that doesn't get run enough (quarterback walks toward the sideline as if to call a timeout, before the ball is snapped). For no apparent reason, quarterback Jordan Johnson gets whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Brandon tries to rev up the trash talking by saying "Oh, Montana's punting. Get used to that."
Let's just say he won't be taking Miss Cleo's job anytime soon.
MSU was able to put together a drive and it appeared they might be able to punch it in for the opening score.
"They're awfully close to the end zone," Brandon said, but Montana State proves him wrong and settled for three... Make that zero! The ball clangs off the right upright with enough force to clear the goalpost of its snowy exterior. There was plenty of snow on those uprights and apparently the MSU field goal kicker just wanted to clean it off. Dylan cackled like a witch and Brandon made a point of cleaning the toilet with his toothbrush later that evening.
The first quarter ends scoreless, but the Bobcat outlook is much better, as they're moving the ball, while Montana's defense is bending, but not yet breaking. The Grizzlies get the first points of the game, thanks to the fact they have a kicker who has yet to succumb to the plague that is college kickers missing anything and everything.
Things got really scary when Montana's Jabin Sambrano was wide open for six! But dropped it! Fit him for his Seattle Seahawks jersey.
After pinning MSU deep, the ferocious Grizzlies defense forces intentional grounding in the end zone, boosting the lead to 5-0! We're not sure about other football fans, but seeing a number like five on the scoreboard always makes us laugh. But a safety? Apparently MSU's line is approaching the game the same way Hamilton's line did when they played Polson in football. "Hey, these guys have a dominant defensive line, so lets just stand around and watch while they tackle our quarterback."
Brandon has officially entered reverse-jinx mode. "MSU is done for, they don't have a chance." Uh, Brandon, it's 5-0.
Did we say 5-0? We meant 12-0. Terrific fourth-down catch by Kavario Middleton.
Halftime's here and if the first half is any indication, this game is over. Rumor has it the Bobcats are a second-half team, as the governor of Montana probably ruined his chances for a second term by showing his true MSU colors and then predicting a comeback in the second half. (Nope, the Bobcats were outscored 24-10 in the final two quarters. Let hope he doesn't have any predictions for the U.S. economy.)
With the way Brandon was acting, Dylan thought he was ready to pop the TV over to How I Met Your Mother. Dylan couldn't blame him either, that show is great and Marshall could certainly block better than MSU's line.
Whatever adjustments MSU made in the locker room are paying off. A quick drive down UM's throat and it's now 12-7. Brandon claims he was right after MSU scored thanks to a big kickoff return and a personal foul penalty that sets up a seven-yard touchdown pass. He added that due to the personal foul, those Montana football players are dirtier than a gas station bathroom.
Anyone watching this game had to figure Montana's response would be the turning point of the contest. A score and MSU had problems. A three-and-out and the Bobcats probably controlled the game. About that same time we were talking about turning points, the Griz put up a touchdown.
Seriously. It took 18 seconds of game time. Brandon looks like he's seen the ghost of Monte. Or perhaps it's just a snow-covered mascot. Either way, he's not feeling well.
Not even four minutes later, Montana puts up another field goal and it's now 22-7. MSU has to score on their next drive because UM is firing on all cylinders. Brandon is now looking for sharp objects to throw at Dylan.
Score? Nope, a MSU punt. Oh well. There's another score by Montana on a 37-yard run by Dan Moore, making it 29-7. You'd think Brandon would be used to this by now, being a Tennessee Titans fan and all. Dylan was just waiting for Brandon to snap and say something along the lines of "I haven't seen a flop like this since the World Cup" or "DeNarius ‘The Disappointment' McGhee."
The fourth quarter is chugging along and Dylan said he's seen closer football games in Indianapolis this year, so it's somewhat tough to keep tabs on.
Brandon marveled at how there hadn't been more Griz-Bobcat violence, since we'd only been doing this "cheering on Montana schools" for merely a column and he already wanted to slash Dylan's tires.
Griz win 36-10! A satisfying victory it is, but now it's time to do away with the gear we wore for one game. Hey, we're still EWU Eagles. Who needs the UM shirt and hat Dylan bought? He promises he won't be wearing it anytime in the near future. Get it soon because you won't need it either after their first playoff game (EWU humor there folks!).
Brandon on the other hand is thinking about holding onto his MSU Bobcats T-shirt, in case any of his Griz friends need to wipe their feet on something.
We have to say it was an interesting experience cheering for each respective team in the Brawl of the Wild and we can understand why it's such a big deal around these parts. Next time EWU is in town though, we'll more than likely be sporting our Reds and Whites.