MISSOULA – Homecoming usually comes with a victory for the Montana Grizzlies. This week, UM will celebrate while hosting a struggling opponent. Portland State last won a Big Sky Conference game in 2016, and the 1-4 Vikings have not beaten a Division I opponent since.
But PSU will throw a few wrinkles at the Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon. The Vikings like to run a flex defense that has given Bobby Hauck’s teams trouble in the past, and they held Idaho to only 13 offensive points in a loss last week.
On the other side of the ball, Hauck knows what to expect from his counterpart. Bruce Barnum’s Vikings run the ball nearly twice as much as they throw it.
“(Barnum) being there, they’re always going to find a way to run it,” said Hauck. “They are going to try and control the game with their rush offense. They’ll use multiple personnel groups. They’ve got one group that has four tight ends in the game at one time, which is unique in itself. These conference games are huge, no matter who is on the other sideline. Every one of these things is huge, especially in a league where you don’t play everybody.”
Portland State has not won in Missoula since 1987. The Griz are 29-3 all-time in Homecoming games in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. UM hopes those trends continue at 2 p.m. Saturday.