FRISCO, Texas — Wearing big smiles and the black cowboy hats they were gifted by the Frisco Sports Commission, the Montana football team arrived here Wednesday night to a warm greeting with hopes for success in the upcoming FCS championship game.
The Grizzlies strode through the doors of the Omni Hotel at roughly 7:45 p.m. Central time, not long after their charter airplane from Missoula touched down on Texas soil.
Hotel staff pumped the "Up With Montana" fight song through lobby speakers and, along with some early arriving fans, clapped and cheered as the team reached its final destination of the 2023 football season.
No. 2-seeded Montana (13-1) and top-seeded defending champion South Dakota State (14-0) will square off Sunday at Toyota Stadium to decide the FCS title. Kickoff is at noon Mountain time, and the game will air on ABC.
The Grizzlies arrived to the national championship stage for the first time in 14 years with the goal of capturing the program's third title and its first since 2001. Montana comes into the matchup with SDSU riding a 10-game winning streak and is looking to hand the Jackrabbits their first loss in the past 28 games dating back to the start of the 2022 season.
After wading through the crowd in the lobby, the Grizzlies' players and coaches rode an escalator up to a second-floor landing area that overlooked the outside of the Ford Center, the Dallas Cowboys' jewel of a practice facility and training center, which the hotel is connected to.
Players and coaches were not available for interviews Wednesday at the hotel. The team's itinerary for the remainder of game week consists partly of closed practices, a media availability on Friday and a pregame walk-through on Saturday at Toyota Stadium before kickoff on Sunday.