Published on October 26th, 2017 | by Bear Tycoon
Don’t get in fights on bye weeks
Interesting week 8. The Montana State Bobcats were big favorites against a mediocre Northern Colorado team, but struggled the whole game (to the point where Hot Take Nate turned off his TV). But they outscored UNC 17-3 in the fourth quarter and ended the game with a 73-yard drive – winning it on a 27-yard field as time expired. (See the FG and how shitty the UNC stadium is here). We discuss below what to expect for their upcoming game against Idaho State.
The Griz had a bye week…what could go wrong? Well, starting safety Justin Strong (the broken-handed team leader in interceptions who got a shout out on SportsCenter earlier this month) was arrested in Pullman, Washington. More on this below…and email us if you have any info.
Griz and Cats each have 4 games left. See our predictions below (Bear Tycoon Preview: Cat fans are delusional).
On this week’s Montana Mint Sports Podcast (the greatest pod in Montanahistory), we welcome on Montana Parlay to chat Cats. The Montana MintSports Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play.
This Week’s Predictions
Montana State vs. Idaho State
The line from Vegas: Cats -8.5
CompughterRatings.com simulated score:
Montana State 31
Idaho State 23
Montana at Weber State
The line from Vegas: Griz +7.5
CompughterRatings.com simulated score:
Weber State 35
Justin Strong – what we know. While visiting his brother in Pullman, WA, Griz Safety Justin Strong was arrested for assault. Strong has not been charged. Information about what actually happened is spotty, but we do know Washington State trach athlete Wyatt Meyring ended up in the hospital following an altercation with Strong. Strong and some witnesses say he acted in self-defense. Other witnesses say Strong acted as the aggressor. The Griz announced Strong has been suspended for the next two games. This suspension could be extended if charges are filed. Reports indicate two other Grizzlies players were with Strong in Pullman. Hit us up if you know their names.
Justin Strong – our take. (1) We’ll never know what actually happened. (2) Nothing good happens after 2:00am. (3) This sucks.
Griz vs. Weber. Griz fans hope good offense beats good defense this weekend. Montana brings the #1 scoring offense in the Big Sky Conference (scoring 39.1 points per game) down to Utah to take on Weber State’s #1 scoring defense (allowing 16.0). Weber’s defense is good…they’ve allowed only 55 points in 4 conference games. For comparison, the North Dakota “fighting” Hawks have allowed 210 points. Mint correspondent Jasper Moonshot will be reporting live from the game.
What we’ll learn about MSU in Week 9… and why the Cats will run for over 325 yards. Montana State comes into their matchup with Idaho State this weekend with the country’s 5th leading rusher in Quarterback Chris Murray. The, at times, dual threat quarterback is also the Big Sky’s leading rusher with 781 yards on the ground and 111.6 yards rushing per game. Even when Murray is handing the ball off to his array of running backs Montana State is running the ball down teams’ throats to the tune of over 250 yards per game, which is good enough for #7 in the FCS.
This is the reason that Idaho State may be in for some trouble this weekend on the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals are ranked 109 out of 123 teams in the FCS in rush defense and are 3rd worst in the Big Sky as they give up an average of 217 yards per game to opposing rushing attacks. Idaho State let Northern Colorado rush for 363 yards and Portland State run for 364 yards this year. Let’s put that into perspective: the Bobcats held those teams to 41 yards and 102 yards on the ground respectively. Montana State is going to come out and run all over Idaho State and their rushing total is going to be over 350 yards on the afternoon.
We’re also going to learn a lot of about the Bobcats’ pass defense this weekend. Idaho State comes in with the #13 ranked passing offense in the country and will match up against Montana State’s #93 ranked pass defense. We saw in the Griz/Bengal game that Idaho State can throw the ball all around the field and score points and it’s going to be a huge barometer on what the Cats’ pass defense is made of as they face their second toughest passing attack so far this season. The pass defense looked good against Gage Gabrud and Eastern Washington and we’ll see if shows up again.
Montana State is going to have to show their fans they can score in the Red Zone this weekend, too. Idaho State has one of the worst Red Zone defenses in the country and Montana State has one of the worst Red Zone offenses in the country. Something is going to have to give. The Cats will have to score points when they get the ball inside the 20 and with the mix of MSU’s rushing attack and ISU’s weak rushing defense I think it’s the week that they finally put that part of their game together. (By Hot Take Nate)
End of Season Predictions. Griz finish: @weber, NAU, UNC, @MSU. Cats finish: ISU, Kennesaw St, @NAU, UM. We asked the Montana Mint Sports staff for their prediction on how things shakeout.
Z-Train (Griz Fan): Griz go 2-2 but miss playoffs, causing 1/2 of MT to lose it. Lose to Weber and NAU, beat MSU on the back of gresch going for 350 and 4 in bozo, stitt is still fired but in a messy way that leaves no one happy. Cats also go 2-2 and Minty Coach rationalizes it as a good year.
Minty Coach (Cats Fan): I’d like to see the Cats win out and I think if they stop killing themselves they could. However, that’s probably wishful thinking. As you all I know I’m an optimist through and through, so I’ll go out on a limb and say Cats go 3-0 at home (ISU, KENNESAW, um) and drop one on the road to NAU.
Minty Coach (Cats Fan): Cats beat Ken and Griz at home. Lose to ISU at home and NAU on the road. Both MT teams miss playoffs. I winterize my MSU gear and start wearing a Seahawks scarf everywhere.
Bear Tycoon (Griz fan): Griz split the next two games, and then beat UNC and MSU. Cats beat ISU this weekend and then lose three in a row. Cats (obviously) miss playoffs, Griz sneak and get a home game.
Jasper Moonshot (Griz Fan): Griz win out. They have a lot of momentum. Every game Gresh gets better and he clicks with the WRs more. I like the way our defensive line plays against the run and how our Db’s have matured. Also, Griz are clutch. Need proof? See: road wins; red zone offense; kicker stats. Not to mention the best punter in the BSC.
Hot Take Nate (Cats Fan): Cats win out. Committee loves Cats’ strength of schedule and can’t leave them out. Home game the Saturday after Thanksgiving in a blizzard. Stitt and Griz left out after loss to Cats. Boosters oust Stitt and Champions Center’s paint starts to peel only after 7 months.
Cat/Griz. 66 people voted in our twitter poll and 51 percent think the Griz will win.
Polls. FCS Top 25 polls came out and there were major disappointments for Big Sky fans. Northern Arizona, 5-2 and 4-0 in conference play was again left out of the FCS STATS poll, while Weber State, 5-2, 3-1 in league play fell out of the top 25 despite winning. In the FCS Coaches Poll, while NAU did appear there for the third straight week, Southern Utah was snubbed once again despite having three wins over Top 25 teams. The Griz dropped out of Coaches Poll despite having a bye week. (via Big Sky Conference)
Pod. For the love of god, subscribe to our podcast. The guys discuss it all during First 10 and a round of Hot and Not (0:43-34:29). Montana Parlay makes his LIVE DEBUT with Hot Take Nate to talk Cats and (35:20-54:00). Bear Tycoon and Hot Take Nate close it out with some shout outs and Osweiler/Huestis Watch (54:05-1:12:46).