No Pot of Gold For Montana Grizzly Football at the ‘Natty’
You can make arguments about missed opportunities in the first half leading to demise.
You could make arguments that the nation's powerful number-one juggernaut was the more flustered and frustrated team for the first 30 minutes. Either way, the cliche "a tale of two halves" came into play and made all the difference.
Heavy underdogs, but trailing just 7-3 at halftime, the University of Montana Grizzly football team held their own, and arguably out-played the mighty South Dakota State Jackrabbits at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship game. But second-half adjustments went the Jackrabbits' way.
A Montana fumble on the first possession of the the third quarter set the Jackrabbits up at their 41 yard line set the tone for what was to come. While the Montana defense forced a punt, the field was flipped and the Griz started struggling even more on offense, punctuated by yet another fumble deep in their own territory.
Player of the year, South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski, took over, leading the Jackrabbits to 16 second half points and a second consecutive national title, overwhelming the Grizzlies, 23-3. While South Dakota State is known for their prolific offense, it was their highly-touted, dominating defense that decided the game.
Montana finishes the season 13-2, fueled with lots of optimism for things to come. Even with a disappointing ending, it was a season for the ages with a dramatic conference win over Idaho, total domination of their in-state rivals and two overtime playoff victories.
Rejoice, Griz Nation. The future is bright.
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