The 112th installment of annual showdown between Montana and Montana State is set to kick off in approximately one hour.
The Bobcats enter the game boasting a 6-1 record in the Big Sky Conference, putting them in a four-way tie for first in the conference standings. A win would help solidify the Cats' playoff seeding. They're ranked second in the FCS poll and many pundits project them to earn the No. 2-seed when the playoff bracket is announced.
The Grizzlies are 3-4 in the Big Sky and are looking to play spoiler this year. UM likely won't qualify for the postseason after a tumultuous spring and up-and-down regular season, but a win over the rival Bobcats would be a silver lining on an otherwise forgettable 2012 campaign.
We've been previewing the game all week. Get caught up before kickoff and check back for quarterly updates.
Big Sky Notebook: http://bit.ly/RRsFUJ
Offensive breakdown: http://bit.ly/PZMkSF
Defensive breakdown: http://bit.ly/RZHVz7
Special teams breakdown: http://bit.ly/QjlUNf
Cody Kirk feature: http://bit.ly/XNAJcK
Jordan Tripp feature: http://bit.ly/TOHJAW
Rachac column: http://bit.ly/T6qRHt
A lethargic opening quarter turned interesting in its latter stages. Peter Nguyen gave the Grizzlies 7-3 lead with a 47-yard touchdown run right up the middle. There was a controversy on the ensuing kickoff when MSU return man Everett Gilbert muffed the ball on the one yard line and then took a knee after it rolled into the end zone. The referees first called a touchback, then ruled a safety, then overturned the call again a called it a safety. The Grizzlies won the offensive battle, rushing for 108 yards.
KEY PLAY: Nguyen ripped through the line and outraced MSU's defense to give the Griz the lead on a third-and-short play with 2:54 on the clock. Nguyen had 88 yards in the first quarter
SCORE: Montana 7, Montana State 3
The Bobcats and running back Cody Kirk were held in check on the ground in the first half, but MSU opened up its passing game a little more in the second quarter. DeNarius McGhee threw for 107 yards and a touchdown, throwing down the field and stretching the Grizzlies' secondary. Brian Flotkoetter, Tanner Bleskin and Jon Ellis each made third-down catches to move the chains. Montana had good field position on three different drives but couldn't capitalize. McGhee threw an interception at the end of the half, which was MSU's first turnover since Oct. 13.
KEY PLAY: McGhee hit a wide-open Kruiz Siewing on a corner route in the end zone to give the Bobcats the lead again. The 16-yard pass came with 3:37 remaining in before halftime.
SCORE: Montana State 10, Montana 7.