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No. 18 Montana Grizzlies seeking 15th straight win over Idaho State

Vincent Genatone (45) celebrates a tackle with senior Levi Janacaro
Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 29, 2023

MISSOULA — Coming off of last weekend's disappointing loss to Northern Arizona, the Montana Grizzlies are looking to reset this Saturday and get rid of the bad taste of that stunning loss.

"It was simple things that we've executed on from spring ball to summer to early in the season that on Saturday we just failed to do," said senior linebacker Levi Janacaro. "But I know the guys that I play with, I know the guys in the locker room, everybody is disappointed in theirselves, and we got the guys that will take the corrections, work on things, make improvements and we'll come back better this upcoming game."

"We did some good stuff (against Northern Arizona), but that didn't give us enough to win the game, and that permeates the offense and defense, as well," said coach Bobby Hauck. "Doesn't mean we didn't make any plays. We (just) didn't make enough, so we need to play better. I think it's a matter of execution and not making mistakes, and the error percentage by position was too high."

This week serves as homecoming for the Griz with Idaho State coming to Missoula.

Under first-year head coach Cody Hawkins, the Bengals are 1-3 this season, but they started off Big Sky Conference play with a win over Northern Colorado. The Bengals have the most pass-happy offense in the league and statistically lead the Big Sky in passing yards per game, but they have the worst rushing offense and defense in the conference. They chuck it around, which could make for fireworks on Saturday, a day that's also expected to see rain play a factor.

"They're going to play with four wide receivers on offense, three down on defense, and the kicking game has got a bunch of different stuff, too," Hauck said.

Historically, it's been a one-sided matchup when the Griz and Bengals meet. ISU has never won inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium, with Montana 19-0 at home against the Bengals since 1986. Overall, UM hasn't lost to Idaho State since 2003, making it 14 straight victories over the Bengals.

But after the loss to NAU, it's never felt more like a must-win game for the Griz.

"It's frustrating when we're making mistakes that we've been going over for the past sixth months and basically the whole time I've been here," said senior running back Nick Ostmo. "So, we just need to get into the film and look at the things that we did wrong and have a good week of prep and get ready for this week."

"Every mistake we made in that game is correctable," Hauck added. "I think when our guys watch the film they'll be shocked that they didn't execute better."

The pressure is on Saturday, but Hauck insisted nothing has changed about the identity of his current team.

"Identity of our team? It's the same as it always is: tough, hard-working, disciplined, physical," Hauck said.

The Griz and Bengals kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday.