TERRE HAUTE, IND. — Two games into the season, the No. 3 Montana Grizzlies couldn't ask for a better start to the year with a 2-0 record and having outscored opponents, 71-7.
But for the first time this season, the Grizzlies are tasked with hitting the road, and they'll head to a state the program has never been before when they travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, to take on Indiana State.
With rich basketball history, it's a school most famous for the 1979 men's national championship basketball game, when the Sycamores were led by a young legend from the Hoosier State named Larry Bird.
Bird and Indiana State were pitted against Magic Johnson's Michigan State Spartans in the first meeting between the future Hall of Famers in what would grow into one of basketball's best rivalries when the two entered the NBA.
But when the Griz and Sycamores meet on Saturday, it will be on the gridiron, and Montana will look to continue making improvements as they aim to make it 3-0 on the campaign.
"I don't think there's anything in particular to sharpen, we just want to keep playing better, more efficiently, execute better," Griz coach Bobby Hauck said. "We're all striving individually and collectively to play perfectly and we haven't obtained that but I thought our guys played well in all three phases. I thought it was pretty good."
Offensively, the Griz slowed down on the scoring in their second game against South Dakota, but with dynamic weapons at every turn, along with quarterback Lucas Johnson, the Griz have the ability to hurt opposing defenses in numerous ways.
"I do feel like as an offense we do have a lot of tools," senior wide receiver Malik Flowers said. "We have a lot of guys who can go out there and make plays, explosive plays, guys who can get open and just make plays every time the ball is in their hands, so we just have to do a good job of getting the ball to the playmakers and making a play when the ball comes our way or we have the opportunity to do so."
Similarly, on defense, Montana hasn't missed a beat, with nine sacks, five forced turnovers and just over 200 yards allowed per game.
Safety Robby Hauck said that credit goes to their fundamentals.
"I'd say it's just down to the foundation of our defense of just playing hard, physical and running to the ball," Hauck said. "Just continue to execute and improve everything that we do."
The Griz and Sycamores (1-1) will kick off at 11 a.m. Mountain Time on Saturday.