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Published on October 13th, 2017 | by Bear Tycoon

Stitt’s handshake was one for the ages

Montana has two winning football programs!  The 4-2 Grizzlies took care of business at Idaho State last week and are double-digit favorites for their homecoming game against North Dakota.  The 3-2 Cats got a nice home win against Portland State and will travel this weekend for a tough game at budding juggernaut Eastern Washington.
In this week’s email, we examine the insane/weird/questionable postgame handshake between Griz coach Bob Stitt and ISU coach Rob Phenicie.  Plus, we uncover the rarity of Chris Murray’s passing performance last weekend and discuss the Cats stout running attack. We also unearthed an amazing video from ISU’s Michael Dean, who was reprimanded for flipping off some Griz fans at last week’s game.
Don’t forget to check out the Montana Mint Sports Podcast.  This week’s episode is one of the best yet.  The Montana Mint Podcast can be found on Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play.

This Week’s Predictions

Montana State @ Eastern Washington
The line from Vegas: Eastern Washington -12.5 simulated score:
Montana State: 33
Eastern Washington: 31 (wtf)

Montana vs. North Dakota 
The line from Vegas: Griz -11.5 simulated score:
Montana: 42
North Dakota: 32

Something weird happened at the end of the Montana vs. Idaho State game.  Griz Coach Bob Stitt went out for the obligatory coach-to-coach handshake, but Idaho State Coach Rob Phenicie appeared to be yelling at him.  Bob Stitt then pulls a running drive-by handshake, followed by a smirking stumble/pirouette/scamper before Phenicie can finish his thought.

The handshake (which can be seen here) divided the Montana Mint office:

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): Stitt’s handshake was real weird. Real weird. He runs weird too.  Like a little leprechaun.

Scotty Mint (Cats Fan): Sooooo awkward.

Jasper Moonshot (Griz Fan): There’s gotta be bad blood from Phenecie poaching Troxel. I think Troxel thought Stitt would be fired. So he jumped to a situation where Phenecie will have 3-4 years at ISU, maybe more since winning isn’t everything there.  Probably a job security move.

Z-Train (Griz Fan): Stitt threw major shade at Idaho State in postgame radio interview.  When asked what adjustment they made at half,   Stitt said we just have better players then them and played like that, and repeated it like three times

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan):  Stitt looks like he’s scared of Phen.  Honest question for you Griz fans: As a Griz fan, does that video of Stitt doing that embarrass you?

Jasper Moonshot (Griz Fan): I think you guys are projecting your hatred for the Griz and Stitt on that handshake/interaction. He’s not scared. He’s having a lot of fun. He’s smiling. He kinda hop/skips. Phen sarcastically called Stitt a genius and then got beat at home. I don’t think Stitt wanted to linger in the handshake because screw Phen, I’m only doing this because it’s tradition.

Minty Coach (Cats Fan): I’m actually surprised phen and Gregorak aren’t more respectful of their former employer.  I get Gregorak, but Phen is strange. Then again, do what works with your progrum. Win games and motivate or find a new job.

Bear Tycoon (Griz Fan):  It’s being reported that Griz players cheered and laughed when they saw the video. Reese Phillips tweeted out the video!  Makes me think it was Stitt’s way of telling Phenicie to screw off for his pregame comments.  This is some Bill Bellichick level stuff here.  Had Stitt just shook his hand, Phenecie could have just moved on to ISU’s upcoming game against Sac St.  Now he’s probably sitting in his office trying to dissect what happened.  Stitt is so permanently into Phenecie’s head, he should be paying rent.

Z-Train (Griz Fan): Why would he be scared?  Dumb.  It’s not like he’d get punched or shot.

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): Not scared like he’d get hit right there. But the way he turned and got out of there was like when a little guy does something he has been taking himself into doing all week and when it happens he’s so scared of doing it that he awkwardly runs away.  I can’t even imagine the messages we’d be getting from you guys if a Cat coach did that. You guys are Spicy Spicer spinners.

Murray’s Remarkably Bad Passing Numbers in Victory. During last week’s victory over Portland State, Montana State QB Chris Murray played the entire game and had only nine passing yards.  Such a stat line puts him in rare company.  Since 2007, only seven teams have won in college football when their starting QB plays the majority of the game and passes for less than 10 yards.  Three of those wins were by teams running the option, meaning that this “accomplishment” happens on average once every 2.5 years for nonoption teams.  The nonoption team QBs that accomplished since 2007 are:
-2016 – Louisiana Lafayette’s Anthony Jennings (2-5 for 0 yards) in a 30-3 win over Louisiana-Monroe.
-2014 – New Mexico’s Lamar Jordan (2-7 for 5 yards) in a 31-28 win over UNLV.
-2014 – Minnesota’s Chris Streveler (1-7 for 7 yards) in a 24-7 win over San Jose State.
-2009 – Ball State’s Tanner Justice (1-10 for 1 yard) in a 29-27 win over Eastern Michigan.

HockeyTown, Montana.  The University of Providence (formerly the University of Great Falls) announced that will add both a men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams starting in 2018-2019 season.  Each team is expected to have 30-40 athletes.

Red Zone Perfection.  Last year, the Griz struggled mightily to score in the red zone.  This year they have scored on 27 of 27 trips.

Idaho State’s Middle Finger.  Idaho State’s Michael Dean was issued a public reprimand for flipping of Griz fans during this week’s loss.  In researching him, we came across this incredible video of him doing a backflip catch while running a route. He is easily our favorite Bengal.  (from Jasper Moonshot – I love videos like that. It reminds me of when JaMarcus Russell had that video of him throwing a football like 60 yards from one knee. Everyone was like, my god, He’s going to be amazing. Well, ya know what, when you throw from a knee you’re down. And it’s not an actual skill that translates to the game.)

Renaming Hot Take Nate.  Since the debut of our podcast, disgruntled fans have sent in variations of Hot Take Nate’s name in their hate mail.  We so far have: Cup Cake Nate, Cold Take Nate, and Hot Take Kate (plus about 50 more too vulgar to publish).  Hit us up on Twitter or email us with your variation.

Cat/Griz is 35 Days Away!  Being we are just 5 weeks from Cat/Griz, we thought we’d pose some question to the Mint’s writers

If Cat/Griz was held today, what would be the line from Vegas?

Minty Coach (Cats Fan): Griz -7. Our pass defense is suspect. We always play shitty against the Griz at home. Jensen is a thrower.

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): In Bozeman – probably Griz -3.5.  7 is way too big of a spread.

Bear Tycoon (Griz Fan): The lines for the Big Sky seem to aggressively like the favorites. I think on neutral field, Griz are -10. In Bozeman, Minty Coach is right on the nose -7.

Jasper Moonshot (Griz Fan): I’m unable to scrub Murray’s Cat-Griz performance from my psyche. Last year he threw 3 times and beat the Griz! This year he’s taken a couple step forward in the passing game. He scares me. His run threat should keep Semore up at night. Griz -1.
On this week’s podcast, we asked sports reporters across Montana for their guesses on the line.

How worried should the Griz be about the Cats impressive running attack?  (Don’t forget they ran for 370 against the Griz last year)

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): Cats just put up 400+ on ground last weekend. Running game is on an upward trend. With LaSane back, the Griz should be scared.  Would rather have a ground game end of November than an air game. Never know what kind of weather we will have

Z-Train (Griz Fan): 400 yds rushing even once more this season would be extremely unlikely.

Bear Tycoon (Griz Fan): The passing game is what has been killing the Griz defense.  Teams are throwing like crazy on the Griz and the Cats can’t throw (see: hilarious Chris Murray stat above)

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): Cats CAN throw against bad pass D (see UND, SDSU). Weber had great pass D and wind was killing pass game this weekend.  Running is Choate’s game plan. He loves it. Cats have #1 rushing attack in BSC. Griz have #5 rush defense. Cats were able to run for 200+ on #1 rush D Weber St

Minty Coach (Cats Fan): Cats can run again, sure.  But Griz will probably scheme for the run.  Not saying Cats wont or can’t win.  It will just be hard to replicate what happened last year.

Should the Griz be ranked in the top 25?

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): No. NAU just beat #7 Illinois State and didn’t get into the Top 25.

Z-Train (Griz Fan): I think it’s easier to vote for known quantity, duh, and that is teams like UM.  Voters probably are like “I haven’t watched a single UM game, but know they’ve won two road conference games.”  It happens in every sport at every level.  Plus, Griz have exactly zero bad losses so far.  They played EWU tough (although it was at home, but then again we had first start for red shirt Freshman) and lost big to UW.  Otherwise have won every game we were supposed to.  That’s an easy vote Nate!

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): You do realize that the Griz haven’t beaten a team above .500, right?  PSU and ISU wins aren’t super impressive.

Z-Train (Griz Fan): Ok, but, NAU has been good like twice ever and their resume isn’t spectacular.  They have beaten Cal Poly, who is 0-6, Northern Colorado, and North Dakota, who are all crummy.  Plus we are 4-2 and they are 3-2.

What is your tweet length reviews of the Griz and Cats?

Z-Train (Griz Fan)
Convincing win this weekend would put griz on track for top three BSC contention.
Cats might have 10 pass completions rest of year.

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan)
Cats have an opportunity to make a huge BSC statement in with a win @EWU. Ball control and taking advantage of EWUs turnover problems will be key to upset.
A haiku for UM:
The Griz are ranked – wow!
The press’s darling is back
Fight on Hawks, fight on

Bear Tycoon (Griz Fan)
Griz success depends on Fr. QB Jensen.  He looked GREAT @ISU but only average @PSU.  Griz need the former to make real noise
A Chris Murray-led team can beat anybody.  But he’s tiny and being over used.

Minty Coach (Cats Fan)
Cats take a big step forward with win in Cheney, which would be a more signature win than UND. Also, red uniforms on red turf….Not fair?

Jasper Moonshot (Griz Fan)
With road wins and successfully replacing a starting QB (with a FRESHMAN!), the Griz show they’re a tough team that fights through adversity. Buy all the Griz stock you can get your hands on.
Bobcats stock looks affordable with a 3-2 record, but they are Enron in mid-October 2001. These close losses are still losses and they haven’t begun to see their bottom.

Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan) (Round 2)
I’d sell ALL my Griz stock as it’s about as high as it can get with early returns on weak teams. Actually I’d hold until after UND.
I’d buy MSU right after EWU game when market opens Monday morning. Final stretch looks like it’ll pay off with a fiscal year ending high v Griz.

The Montana Mint Sports Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play

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Bear Tycoon

The Richest Bear in the Woods.

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