The Best Montana Grizzlies Football Games of the 2000s
As I write this article, we are roughly 24 hours until it's go time. The Montana Grizzlies, the team of the 2000s, squares off with the North Dakota State Bison, the team of the 2010s, with a trip to Frisco on the line.
It is one of the most significant games in recent history for the Grizzlies. It's the first semifinal since 2009's epic victory over App State (more on that later).
But it's not the only important game that Griz fans have experienced since the new millennium. If you're not already hyped for tomorrow's game, first check your pulse and then read The Best Montana Grizzlies Football Games of the 2000s below (arranged in no particular order).
2001 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship Game (Montana 13, Furman 6)
The second National Championship trophy captured in the illustrious history of the Montana Grizzlies happened December 21, 2001 at Finley Stadium in Chatanooga, Tennessee. It was a near-perfect year for Montana. Under Head Coach Joe Glenn, the Griz suffocated the Furman Paladins, led by current Florida Gators Head Coach Billy Napier. Furman was shut out until the very last play of the game. Montana was led by all-time leading rusher Yohance Humphery who scored the only Griz touchdown of the day.
2009 FCS Semifinal Game (Montana 24, Appalachian State 17)
Often considered the greatest game ever played at the University of Montana. On a snow-covered field, Montana scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 1:31 left in the ballgame. Sophomore receiver Jabin Sambrano hauled in his only reception of the game for the go-ahead score on the pass from Andrew Selle, but the excitement didn't stop there. The Griz defense allowed App State to march all the way to the 3-yard line and on the final play of the game Montana made a stand. Griz legend Trumaine Johnson had tight coverage on the last play of the game and forced an incompletion to secure a title game spot. Madness ensued at Washington-Grizzly Stadium that day.
2023 Brawl of the Wild (Montana 37, Montana State 7)
2008 Brawl of the Wild (Montana 35-3)
Oh, another a** kicking against the rivals out of Bozeman? Montana blasted the Cats en route to their first of two straight natty appearances in the late 2000s. This time it came in the copper and gold throwback uniforms.
2008 FCS Semifinals (Montana 35, James Madison 27)
Just a few weeks after Montana's epic beatdown of the Cats, Montana strolled into Harrisonburg, Virginia and upset the James Madison Dukes. Griz great Chase Reynolds rushed for two touchdowns and the defense/special teams forced 4 Dukes turnovers.
Down goes the nationally ranked Washington Huskies (Montana 13, Washington 7)
Montana doesn't travel to many FBS schools, because they don't need buy games. But in 2021 when the Griz took on the #20 Washington Huskies in Seattle it turned into an all-time upset. It was just the second time Montana defeated Washington in 20 games. The first one came way back in 1920 in the teams' first-ever meeting. It may not have the flair of a playoff game, but anytime you can defeat the big bad FBS it's a big deal.
Carson Wentz' loss in Missoula (Montana 38, North Dakota State 35)
1995 NCAA Division I-AA Championship Game (Montana 22, Marshall 20)
Ok, yes I'm cheating. This game definitely didn't happen this millennium, but who cares? I had to include this on the list as the 2023 Griz look for a 3rd National Title. Good vibes only heading into the weekend! Montana Hall of Famer Dave Dickenson led the Copper and Gold into enemy territory to capture the Griz' first-ever title. As Jon Kasper wrote in an article in 2014 for the Big Sky Conference...
Enter a sports pub in Missoula, Mont., and you are bound to find a remidner
Amen to that, Jon. We're hoping Red's, the Mo Club, Press Box, etc can add some more championship memorabilia to their walls in January...