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Griz football notebook: It’s Cat Week!

This year’s Griz/Cat game is set for Saturday, Nov. 17, at noon in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. (GoGriz.com)

The Montana Grizzlies dismantled the Idaho Vandals 46-27 in the first Big Sky Conference game between the two long-time rivals since 1995 on Saturday, laying claim to The Little Brown Stein for a fifth-straight time.

Saturday’s result was the largest margin of victory (19 points) in a Griz win over the Vandals since 1994. It’s also the fourth-highest margin of victory in series history, with the largest occurring in 1969 when UM defeated UI 34-9. Montana is now 28-55-2 all-time against Idaho and 12-29-2 in games played in Moscow. The Griz have won five straight, and nine of the last 11.

All eyes now turn to the traditional biggest game of the year, the annual Brawl of the Wild between Montana and Montana State.

This year’s Griz/Cat game is set for Saturday, Nov. 17, at Noon in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The game is SOLD OUT.

The Brawl of the Wild can be seen on the ROOT Sports Network, available on select cable packages nation-wide, DirecTV’s Audience Network, and DISH Studio.

The Montana Office of Alumni Relations is once again sponsoring Griz/Cat watch parties, giving thousands of alumni and fans the chance to gather to watch the annual Brawl of the Wild. A list of watch party locations can be found at GoGriz.com.

RECORDS

Montana head coach Bobby Hauck became the winningest coach in UM history at Idaho Saturday, picking up the 86th win as a Grizzly head coach, surpassing the great Don Read’s career win total. Hauck is 86-21 and 51-8 in Big Sky play at Montana. He’s also 101-71 in his head coaching career.

Linebacker Dante Olson also became Montana’s all-time leader in total tackles in a single season with 133 to his name after picking up 10 tackles against the Vandals. More on that below.

RANKINGS

Montana State made its first foray into the STATS FCS top-25 this week coming in at No. 25, while the Grizzlies are knocking on the door at No. 30, picking up 89 votes after a dominant win at Idaho.

In the AFCA Coaches Poll, the Griz and Cats sit just outside the top-25, garnering six and 11 points, respectively.

ROOT SPORTS BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINATIONS

Offense

Montana nominated quarterback Dalton Sneed for the Big Sky ROOT Sports Offensive Player of the Week following UM’s 46-27 rivalry win at Idaho.

Sneed posted a game-high 129 yards rushing with one touchdown and a long of 62 yards for the Grizzlies, paired with 220 yards and three TDs in the air on 12-20 passing.

All told, Sneed led all players with 349 yards of total offense and was responsible for four touchdowns.

Defense

Montana nominated Olson for the Big Sky ROOT Sports Defensive Player of the Week after the junior broke the Montana school record for single-season tackles against the Vandals.

Olson posted a game-high 10 tackles and logged a quarterback hurry against the Vandals as Montana’s defense held Idaho to just six first-half points.

Olson now has 133 tackles in 2018, breaking the previous school record of 130 tackles set by Kendrick Van Ackeren in 2015, and 129 before that set by Griz legends Tim Hauck and Colt Anderson.

Special Teams

Kicker Adam Wilson earned Montana’s nomination for the Big Sky ROOT Sports Special Teams Player of the Week.

Wilson had eight kickoffs and three touchbacks against the Vandals, averaging 58 yards per kick and totaling 464 yards.

The former rugby player at Arizona has been a big contributor to Montana’s league-leading kickoff coverage team that only allowed 60 yards out of four kick returns from the Vandals.

GRIZ/CAT MEDIA SCHEDULE

Grizzly Athletics will host its weekly press conference on Monday afternoon at the usual 2 p.m. time in the Adams Center Sky Club. This week’s press conference will feature Coach Hauck and captains Josh Buss and Dalton Sneed.

Practice for the week leading up to the game will be CLOSED to media and spectators.

Fans are invited to hear from Coach Hauck ahead of the game at the Grizzly Coaches Show, hosted by the Press Box Bar and Grill in Missoula each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

FIRST LOOK AT THE CATS

The Griz and Cats enter Saturday’s 118th Brawl of the Wild game with similar 6-4 (4-3 BSC) records, both coming off a pair of wins heading into the rivalry, and both needing a victory for a remote chance at a playoff berth.

The Bobcats come to Missoula after picking up two wins at home over Cal Poly and Northern Colorado, where MSU’s rushing attack was on display. Sophomore quarterback Troy Anderson – the fourth-leading rusher in the Big Sky and the league’s leading scorer by touchdown with 16 – ran for a combined 212 yards in the two games. Freshman running back Isaiah Ifanse has also contributed heavily to the MSU ground game with 300 yards combined in the last two games, including 233 yards against Cal Poly to earn Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Montana leads the all-time series in the cross-state rivalry 72-39-5 dating back to the first meeting in 1897, and lead the series 31-16-1 in games played in Missoula.

The Griz enter the game winners of three of the last five meetings, looking to end a two-game slide.