CollegeMontana Grizzlies


Grizzly rewind: A look back at Montana's thrilling comeback against South Dakota State in 2009

Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 24, 2023

MISSOULA — The FCS national championship game between No. 1 South Dakota State (14-0) and No. 2 Montana (13-1) is officially two weeks away.

It's a meeting between two proud and tradition-rich programs, both in the FCS at large, but also, against each other, as UM and SDSU have fared off in some classics and thrillers over the years, and usually, with high stakes involved. Currently, Montana holds a 8-0 advantage in the head-to-head meetings with SDSU.

One particular matchup is a game that ranks at the very top for some Griz fans, and that was Nov. 28, 2009, when the Grizzlies hosted the Jackrabbits in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

The Grizzlies were 11-0 going into the game and the top-ranked team in the country, but to start, they sure didn't look or play like it.

SDSU jumped to a 14-0 lead with two touchdowns in the span of a minute in the first quarter, and eventually led 34-14 at halftime.

Then, twice, the Jackrabbits would ballon their lead to 27 in the second half, when they led 41-14 and again 48-21 with 5:40 left in the third quarter.

But then, the comeback for the ages began, as Griz legend and newly inducted hall of famer Marc Mariani took the ensuing kickoff back 98 yards for the score, which spurred the Grizzlies who would go on to score 40 unanswered points and six touchdowns to eventually win 61-48 to survive and advance.

After Chase Reynolds scored to tie it 48-48 with 4:11 to play, Andrew Selle hit Mariani with 1:08 remaining to give the Grizzlies their first lead of the game, in what would be the go-ahead touchdown.

Mariani's career day concluded with him catching 12 passes for 171 yards and two scores plus the kickoff return TD. Selle would finish 27 for 43 for 309 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Tyler Palmer caught six passes for 85 yards and a score.

Reynolds, while quiet yardage-wise with just 34 yards, scored three 1-yard touchdowns in the game as well. Defensive end Severin Campbell also picked off two passes off of tipped balls, including the game-sealer with 45 seconds to go that tacked another score on for the Griz as SDSU was attempting a comeback drive.

Shann Schillinger finished with 14 total tackles on the day and Erik Stoll racked up 11. Campbell, Jace Palmer and Bryan Waldhauser each tallied sacks while Palmer also forced a fumble.

To see the latest Grizzly Rewind and relive that classic game in 2009, check out the video above.