MISSOULA — We will turn much of our attention to the football field this week, and the 117th meeting of Montana’s top two rivals. The Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats collide once again.

The Cats shocked UM in Missoula last year to keep Montana out of the playoffs, so the Griz want a little payback. But there’s already one big difference between the past two meetings.

Last November, the Griz were struggling coming off a loss to Northern Colorado. Right now, the Griz’s confidence is sky high coming off a 44-14 blowout of the Bears. So if momentum can carry over to Saturday, Montana likes its chances.

Story continues below

“Playing at a high level, that was a goal for our football team going into the 11th week,” said coach Bob Stitt. “We wanted to be playing our best football, and that probably was our best game as far as the first half goes.”

“We feel very good. We’re very confident right now,” added senior inside receiver Josh Horner. “Obviously like coach said, all three facets had a great game, probably the most complete game we’ve played so far this season, so what a perfect time to do that, right before we go play Montana State.”

The Grizzlies know their postseason chances also hinge on the game. A win would make the Griz 8-3 and a safe bet to make the FCS playoffs. A loss would make Montana sweat out selection Sunday, perhaps missing out for the second straight year.

Montana and Montana State battle in Bozeman at noon on Saturday.