MISSOULA – Idaho’s return to the Big Sky Conference brings back a classic rivalry for the Grizzlies. It also gives Montana a tough matchup on the road for the second consecutive week.
The first year back in the FCS hasn’t gone according to plan for the Vandals. The team many expected would immediately compete near the top of the league struggled early in conference play. They hold a 4-5 record. But they came back late last week to beat North Dakota, a top-25 team.
Griz head coach Bobby Hauck knows Idaho’s head coach very well. Paul Petrino is a Montana native. His dad, Bob, was a legendary coach at Carroll College. And Hauck has plenty of respect for Petrino’s team.
“(Petrino) is an offensive guy by nature,” said Hauck. “So they like to go up and down the field. But his toughness shows through on the defense and the kicking game, too. So they are a pretty balanced outfit. You know, it starts up front for good football teams. And they are good on both sides of the ball up front.”
Hauck is also impressed with Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss. The senior has 10.5 tackles for a loss and causes plenty of problems all over the field. Montana and Idaho meet again at 4:30 Saturday afternoon in Moscow.