BOZEMAN and MISSOULA -- The 120th Cat-Griz football game is staying in Missoula.
The Big Sky Conference President's Council announced Wednesday it has approved moving the fall 2020 conference football schedule to the fall of 2021, restoring the slate of games that had previously been canceled. While not unanimous, the league membership elected to play the 2020 schedule for the 2021 season. With Southern Utah announcing it will officially leave the Big Sky Conference, the previous 2021 schedule will not be pushed forward as the league re-draws the schedule matrix without the Thunderbirds in 2022.
Montana was scheduled to host rival Montana State on Nov. 21, 2020, but the Big Sky Conference's fall football season was postponed to the spring of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both Montana and Montana State have since opted out of the Big Sky's spring season.
The Big Sky Conference schedule will kick off on Sept. 25, 2021 for both the Bobcats and Grizzlies. Montana State will travel to Portland State for its first conference game of the Brent Vigen era, while Bobby Hauck and the Griz will open conference play with a home game against Cal Poly. The Cats and Griz will conclude their eight-game conference schedules against each other on Nov. 20.
Montana's fall schedule includes three non-conference games: at Washington on Sept. 4, home against Western Illinois on Sept. 11 and home against Dixie State on Oct. 9. The Grizzlies' open week is set for Sept. 18. Montana is currently scheduled to play one game during the NCAA-approved 2021 spring season when it hosts Central Washington on April 10 in Missoula.
The Griz last played in 2019, compiling a 10-4 overall record and 6-2 mark in the Big Sky. They reached the FCS Playoffs, eventually ending their season in the quarterfinal round with a loss at Weber State.
Montana State will also play three non-conference games: at Wyoming on Sept. 4, home against Drake on Sept. 11 and home against San Diego on Sept. 18. The game against Wyoming will pit Vigen against his old team in Laramie. Vigen had been on Craigh Bohl's Wyoming staff as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2014. He was officially introduced as MSU's head football coach on Tuesday.
In 2019, the Bobcats went 11-4 overall and 6-2 in Big Sky play. They advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion North Dakota State.
Montana Grizzlies fall 2021 football schedule
Sept. 4 -- at Washington
Sept. 11 -- vs. Western Illinois
Sept. 18 -- Open
Sept. 25 -- vs. Cal Poly*
Oct. 2 -- at Eastern Washington*
Oct. 9 -- vs. Dixie State
Oct. 16 -- vs. Sacramento State*
Oct. 23 -- at Idaho*
Oct. 30 -- vs. Southern Utah*
Nov. 6 -- at Northern Colorado*
Nov. 13 -- at Northern Arizona*
Nov. 20 -- vs. Montana State*
*Big Sky Conference game
Montana State Bobcats fall 2021 football schedule
Sept. 4 -- at Wyoming
Sept. 11 -- vs. Drake
Sept. 18 -- vs. San Diego
Sept. 25 -- at Portland State*
Oct. 2 -- vs. Northern Colorado*
Oct. 9 -- vs. Cal Poly*
Oct. 16 -- at Weber State*
Oct. 23 -- vs. Idaho State*
Oct. 30 -- Open
Nov. 6 -- at Eastern Washington*
Nov. 13 -- vs. Idaho*
Nov. 20 -- at Montana*
*Big Sky Conference game