Friday, December 12, 2008

Up with Montana!!!

Okay, everyone sing along with me!

Up with Montana boys, down with the foe
Good ole Grizzlies, out for a victory
We'll shoot our backs round the foemen's line
A hot time is comin now o brother mine

Up with Montana boys, down with the foe
Good ole Grizzlies, triumph today
And the squeal of the pig will float on the air
From the tummy of the grizzly bear

That would be the Montana Grizzly fight song. I don't remember more than a few words here and there of my high school fight song, but "Up with Montana" will always be burned into my memory. So, what's the point of this post?? Oh yeah...

I just got done watching one helluva a football game. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Montana's win over Weber St. last week earned them a berth in the FCS semifinals on the road against the top-ranked and favored James Madison Dukes. Madison came into the game at 12-1, with a 12 game winning streak and what seemed to be an unstoppable offense. In fact, I don't believe the Dukes punted once the entire game. But, they did turn the ball over 4 times and the Griz were able to capitalize.

Madison took a quick 3-0 lead, then Montana stormed back with two touchdowns to go up 14-3. Madison drove and scored again to pull within 14-10 at halftime. The Dukes' stud quarterback went down with an ankle injury late in the 2nd quarter, but that didn't slow em down much. However, Montana didn't slow down either, as they racked up 21 points in the 3rd quarter to Madison's 7. It looked like the Griz were going to bust things wide open when they were up 35-17 and had the ball early in the 4th quarter, but a bad punt snap out of the end zone gave Madison a safety and on their subsequent possession, the Dukes scored again and got a 2 point conversion on a questionable call by the refs. By then there were just over 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Griz were ahead by 8 and had the ball. They started driving and working time off the clock but eventually faced a 3rd and 2 just inside Madison territory. Cole Bergquist dropped back and launched a great pass to Marc Mariani deep down the right sideline and it appeared as though Mariani came down with it before going out of bounds, and that was in fact the call on the field, but it was overturned after reviewing the replay. Yet another questionable call against the Griz. So, with just over 2 minutes left, they were forced to punt and pinned Madison deep in their own territory. Madison started driving, but a couple of penalties and incomplete passes later they faced a 4th and 20. The Dukes backup QB launched a pass that would have been good for the first down, but the Griz defender knocked it out of the receivers hands and the game was essentially over. All the Griz had to do was take a knee to run the clock out.

I'm seriously sweating right now....that was a great, intense playoff game. The victory sends the Griz to Chattanooga, TN next week for the FCS National Championship. This will be Montana's sixth appearance in the Big Game. Their last appearance was in 2004, when they lost to.....James Madison. Ahhhhhh......revenge is sweet. Montana's other appearances were a win over Marshall in 1995, a loss to Marshall in 1996, a loss to Georgia Southern in 2000, and a win over Furman in 2001. Here's hoping they can even that championship record at 3-3. We'll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to find out who they play; they face the winner of the Northern Iowa-Richmond contest.


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