Griz out to beat the odds
History has a pesky habit of repeating itself, which means the Griz could be in for a tough challenge as they travel to Texas to take on top-ranked Sam Houston State on Friday night.
Going into last week’s home-field quarterfinal match-up against Northern Iowa, the team’s odds of posting a victory looked pretty good on paper. Even before last Friday’s win, the Griz boasted a 28-6 all-time playoff record for games played in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, with a winning ratio of 11-3 since 2004.
On the road, history paints a different, darker picture. The Grizzlies are 2-8 overall in away playoff games. Although they’ve beat the Bearkats three out of the four times the two teams have met, all three wins were earned on Montana soil, with the lone loss occurring in the Lone Star State.
One thing working against the Bearkats is their inexperience. Their one and only past semifinal appearance came in 2004 against — you guessed it — the Montana Grizzlies. UM won that game 34-13 at home.
The Griz have a respectable 7-3 record in semifinal games, but only one of those wins happened outside of Missoula.
Weather doesn’t appear to be much of a factor, with game-day forecasts calling for a temperature of around 54 degrees with a chance of rain. That’s pretty standard for Huntsville at this time of year, although the town has enjoyed a few sunny days in the 60s and 70s this week. It should feel downright tropical to the Grizzlies, who have been practicing in 30-degree conditions all week, but I doubt it will be cold enough to throw off the home team.
Still, every sports fan loves an underdog story, and with everyone in Griz Nation rooting for an upset, I think this team could very well crush the statistics.
Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.