“Learn from it, flush it, and move on,” is the message from the coaching staff this week for the Montana Grizzlies as they rebound from a tough but fruitful nonconference game against the No. 6 Washington Huskies in Seattle.
The Griz get back in the saddle on Saturday against an FCS opponent, hosting the Savannah State Tigers from Georgia. It will be the first-ever meeting between the schools, the first time Montana has faced a team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), and one of the few times Montana has hosted a team from East of the Mississippi River at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
Starting in the second quarter of the season-opener against Valparaiso, the Griz offensive machine found top gear, scoring four unanswered touchdowns and moving into mid-season form. Then Montana ran into a purple buzz saw in Seattle, and the Griz have now turned their attention to finding that mid-season form again against an athletic Tigers outfit.
“Their quarterback, everything they do on offense is wrapped around him. He’s a very athletic guy, and they’re going to run read-option, triple-option. It’ll be similar to Northern Iowa last year and the Cats last year,” said head coach Bob Stitt.
“We’ve just got to get ready for their scheme and get ready to play very, very good football. We need to go and get after it early, and we’ve got to start picking up some momentum,” Stitt added. “This third game needs to be more like our second game where we really clean it up and start getting some big-time confidence and really be able to attack on both sides of the ball.”
GOOD NEWS: Savannah State University announced via Facebook on Tuesday that evacuation orders for Chatham County have been lifted after the passing of Hurricane Irma, and that power has been restored to campus with minor damage. Classes are scheduled to resume at SSU on Thursday, and the Tiger football team is scheduled to depart for Montana on Friday.
The thoughts and best wishes from the Montana Department of Athletics go out to all those in Savannah and around the South affected by Irma.
THE GAME: The Griz (1-1) welcome Savannah State (0-1) – one of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the oldest public HBCU in the state of Georgia (established in 1890) – with an enrollment of 4,280.
The Tigers come to Montana for just its second game of the season with a 0-1 record. SSU fell to former FCS program Appalachian State last week 54-7. Savannah State scored its only touchdown on defense, with lineman Stephen Dorsey returning a fumble 45 yards for the score in the fourth quarter. App State quarterback Taylor Lamb tied a school record with five passing touchdowns in the Mountaineer win.
This week’s game marks only the third time in Montana history the Griz have faced an HBCU school, with all three meetings occurring in Missoula. The last time was in 2016 when the Griz defeated Mississippi Valley State. The first was against Jackson State in 1989, also a win for the Griz.
Kickoff between the Griz and Tigers is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday. Limited tickets are still available for the “Pride and Tradition” game (maroon and silver), and are available at GrizTix.com or the Adams Center Box Office. Saturday’s game is presented by NorthWestern Energy.