BOZEMAN — Ahead of the 120th Brawl of the Wild, reporter Kyle Hansen gives Montana State Bobcat fans a look at the No. 7 Montana Grizzlies. After bouncing back from some injuries and a couple of losses, Hansen describes this Griz team as "clutch."
“I think that’s kind of one word that comes to mind because they are beating the teams they need to and they’re poised to make the playoffs," Hansen said. "What happens on Saturday will determine when and where they start.”
After overcoming a leg injury, redshirt senior quarterback Cam Humphrey is back at the helm of the Griz offense. Over the last two weeks he has thrown for 513 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and has punched in a TD on the ground.
“He looks healthy," said Hansen. "He’s throwing the ball well. He’s moving pretty well. He’s been a mobile quarterback, that was kind of one of his biggest skill sets.”
Besides star wide receiver Samuel Akem, redshirt freshman tight end Cole Grossman has become a reliable target.
“I think Cole Grossman in the last six games he’s gotten four touchdowns," Hansen said. "He’s been kind of a really nice option down the middle of the field. He had a really nice 46-yard reception that setup a touchdown against Northern Arizona last week -- broke a tackle. Just a freak athlete.”
The same goes for redshirt junior wide receiver Mitch Roberts, who has 47 grabs on the year.
“This year he has gotten to finally be a full-time starter and I think he’s really embraced it," said the KPAX sports reporter. "He’s just a consistent six, seven catches a game for these guys.”
On the ground, the Griz have been relying on two freshman: Xavier Harris. who is averaging 4.8 yards per carry, and Isiah Childs, who has a little more size.
“Xavier Harris, a lot of speed, Isiah Childs is a little bit bigger — that’s kind of the roles they’ll play," said Hansen. "They’re going to be called upon to make plays against Montana State because man that defensive line, that defense as a whole, they’re a tough unit.”
At the linebacker position, most fans know about Townsend's Jace Lewis, but the Griz have two other Montana kids, one out of Kalispell Glacier and the other out of Helena Capital who can wreak havoc on the Bobcats offense.
“Patrick O'Connell still leads the Big Sky conference in sacks so he is kind of the guy to keep an eye on there for the linebacking corps and Marcus Welnel, he’s either top five or top seven in interceptions as well this year.”
In the secondary, redshirt junior cornerback Justin Ford has been causing problems for a lot of Big Sky Conference quarterbacks, tallying an interception in eight straight games this year.
“He’s come on strong," said Hansen. "He’s a transfer from Louisville who kind of made a reputation in the spring as a fan favorite. A lot of energy and hits really hard. This fall he has been doing that but also leads the league in interceptions.”
Kickoff from Washington-Grizzly Stadium starts at noon on Saturday.