LUCAS SEMB Missoulian
MISSOULA – Just just a few weeks in the past, the prospects for the Montana Grizzlies soccer staff have been bleak. At least in accordance to a big panel of media pundits and school soccer followers throughout the nation.
It went from profitable 5 video games in a row to shedding three video games in a row. The Griz had a beginning quarterback and regarded like a mediocre Big Sky Conference staff.
Fast ahead to week 13, and Montana has back-to-back dominant wins forward of the annual Brawl of the Wild. One with newly raised stakes after ESPN’s College Game Day introduced it was coming to Bozeman.
“If I were to summarize, all I would say is that reports of the Montana Grizzlies’ demise have been grossly exaggerated,” mentioned head coach Bobby Hauck.
The narrative fully modified after the Grizzlies’ final two video games. Although these two wins got here towards BSC basement dwellers in Cal Poly and East Washington, UM received the two video games in emphatic fashion.
People additionally learn…
Regardless of opponent, beating your competitors 120-7 over a two-week interval is spectacular. 124 unanswered factors from the fourth quarter of Weber State’s loss to the third quarter of EMU’s sport win communicate volumes.
Things have been getting again on observe for the Griz, and quick. When requested what phrase may describe the method they have been taking part in recently, Hauck selected “competitiveness.” Not “desperation” together with your again towards the wall or “anger” at falling off the high of the convention rating, however a standard griz staple.
“I would just use the competitiveness,” mentioned Hauck. “Every time you knock off the ball, this team is going to compete. That includes practice on Tuesday and Wednesday… this group is competitive, confident and showing off. They play well.”
It comes at the most important time of the season: November. With the FCS Playoffs Selection Show a week starting Sunday, the Griz control their own destiny. If they beat Montana State on Saturday, they’re a playoff suspension.
If they lose, they still have the required seven-win threshold to be considered for the field of 24. But they prefer not to leave it up to the committee and their thoughts on the bubble teams.
UM is now carrying a lot of momentum into the Brawl of the Wild and can say it’s on the right track, perhaps at the expense of some previous losses.
“We always point to November here,” said Hauck. “Maybe it cost us in October.”
But this recipe, which Hauck says contains many different ingredients, is now perfectly cooked. It seems like every season the Griz have their boys who play their best football late. Since Hauck’s return to the program in 2018, his teams are 7-2 in November.
“We’re playing a lot of guys early on, we’re trying to tone down our practice a bit the later in the season we come,” Hauck said. “The length of things we do, how much mental versus how much physical. All of these things we try to do.”
Eastern Washington were the youngest team to feel the effects after Saturday’s 63-7 loss in Missoula. Head coach Aaron Best was reminded how good the Griz are, regardless of their midseason slide.
The Eagles’ seven points were their lowest offensive performance of the season. They allowed a total of 604 yards in rushing, which was a second-worst mark of the year, behind only the Florida Gators.
“Don’t twist it, this can be a good soccer staff,” Best said. “And they’re taking part in rather well at dwelling they usually’re taking part in for his or her playoff life they usually did not need to overlook us.”
However, Montana’s most important game is next week and it’s not at home. It’s on the road in one of the most challenging FCS atmospheres. It’s against the team that gave them their only two losses in November since 2018.
The state of Montana will pose a threat if it puts out the Grizzlies’ fire, but they have the momentum to put it down. And a head coach who likes to downplay the importance.
Maybe it’s an attempt to keep his boys’ emotions under control because the repercussions are easy for everyone to see.
“Can you allow us to take pleasure in this…I imply, for heaven’s sake, eight hours possibly?” said Hauck when asked about the Brawl of the Wild following his team’s win over EWU. “We have not seen her in the film but, so we do not know a lot about her. They can have our full consideration tomorrow and Monday once we practice once more.”
Lucas Semb is the Griz Football Beat Writer for The Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @Lucas_Semb or e-mail him at [email protected]