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Stan Becton | | December 10, 2022

Montana-Montana State football: Memorable moments, all-time history of the Brawl of the Wild

Montana v. Eastern Washington: All 13 touchdowns from wild second round battle

It's been more than 120 years since Montana and Montana State first battled on the gridiron. The Montana and Montana State football rivalry, known as "The Brawl of the Wild," is the fourth-oldest rivalry in the FCS. The Grizzlies and Bobcats play annually for Treasure State bragging rights, with the winner receiving The Great Divide Trophy.

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When Montana and Montana State met in 2022, it marked The Brawl of the Wild's 121st all-time meeting. Montana State crushed Montana State 55-21 with ESPN's College GameDay in attendance. The Grizzlies hold a 74-42-5 head-to-head edge in the all-time series.

However, there's more to this rivalry than wins and losses, with immense history throughout the series. These are just a few notable happenings in football history that put The Brawl of the Wild in perspective:

  • 1897: William McKinley was sworn in as the 25th U.S. president in 1897, the first year of Montana vs. Montana State football.
  • 1906: The forward pass is legalized in football
  • 1913: All-time college football head coach Paul β€œBear” Bryant is born
  • 1920: The Akron Pros won the first NFL championship
  • 1967: The Green Bay Packers won the first Super BowlΒ 

Here are six moments chronicling Montana and Montana State’s decorated pasts.

1968 β€” The Paul Schafer Game

In the fourth quarter, Montana State trailed Montana 24-9. Yet, a Montana State rally saw the Bobcats score 20 points in the final nine minutes, capped off by running back Paul Schafer’s end zone carry with 12 seconds to play. That touchdown highlighted a remarkable day for Schafer; he was a workhorse with 58 carries for 234 yards.

Montana almost made a comeback of its own when wide receiver Ron Baines broke free before Bobcat defender Terry Brown tripped him up inside Montana State’s 20-yard line as time expired.

1986 β€” The Streak begins

1986 marked the first game in the rivalry in the new Washington-Grizzly Stadium. It also marked the first game against Montana State for Grizzlies coach Don Read. In a game of firsts, Montana dominated putting up 59 points in the win. This win started what's known as β€œThe Streak”, where the Grizzlies won consecutive games over a period that spanned across three decades.Β 

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1997 β€” Heartbreak in 22 seconds

By 1997, The Streak had reached 11 games. Montana State fought its hardest to keep its losing streak from reaching 12, but a series of unfortunate mistakes cost the Bobcats the game.

The first mistake came at the end of the first half. The Bobcats had too many men on the field as the first half reached its end, giving Montana one extra play. That penalty proved to be costly as Montana quarterback Brian Ah Yat tossed a touchdown pass to end the half with the Grizzlies up 21-7.

Despite that mistake, Montana State fought back to take the lead 25-24 thanks to a three-yard touchdown run from Eric Kinnamon with 22 seconds to go.

Then came mistake No. 2. On the ensuing kickoff, the kick went out of bounds and Montana had great field position.

Ah Yat then found Justin Olson on a 46-yard strike at the Montana State 19-yard line with eight seconds to go. That pass set up Kris Heppner’s game-winning 38-yard field goal as time expired for Montana's 12th straight win.

2002 β€” The Streak ends

Montana State’s losing streak to Montana ended at 16 games in 2002. Led by a true freshman quarterback, Travis Lulay, the β€˜Cats took the lead and never looked back in the third quarter when Lulay found Junior Adams for a 53-yard touchdown. With great defense β€” Montana State held Montana quarterback John Edwards to just 106 passing yards and a 25 percent completion percentage β€” Montana State ended The Streak with a 10-7 win.

2011 β€” Down goes No. 1

In the 2011 edition of The Brawl of the Wild, Montana State entered as the No. 1 team in the nation with the top-ranked offense. Rankings aside, the Grizzlies stunned their rival 36-10, holding the high-powered Bobcat offense to just 250 total yards.

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2018 β€” The Miracle in Missoula

Montana State pulled off the largest comeback in series history in 2018, rallying from down 22-0 in 2018. The Bobcats rally to take a 29-25 lead with 14 seconds to play. Yet, Montana had the ball inside the one-yard line on third-and-goal. What happened next is known as The Miracle in Missoula.

Watch the play below

Montana’s State goal-line stand clinched a three-game win streak for the Bobcats and an FCS playoff berth.

2022 β€” College GameDay comes to town

For the first time in Brawl of the Wild history, ESPN's College GameDay was in attendance at 2022's game hosted by Montana State. On the field, the Bobcats blasted Montana, winning 55-21.


πŸ† Championships: Championship history | Winningest teams | Schools with the most titles
πŸ₯‡ Awards: Walter Payton | Buck Buchanan | Jerry Rice
🀯 FCS-over-FBS upsets: All-time history | Upset blueprint
✊ HBCU: Championship history | Greatest individual players
🐐 Careers in review: Kupp | Wentz | Lance | Garappolo | Heinicke | Leonard | Watson
πŸ‘€ Top-5 all-time players: North Dakota State | Montana | Eastern Washington | HarvardΒ | Yale | Villanova | Delaware
βš”οΈ Rivalries: The Game | The RivalryΒ | Brawl of the WildΒ | Dakota Marker | Florida Classic | Bayou ClassicΒ | Oldest rivalries
🏟 STADIUMS: The 25 biggest FCS stadiums | The 10 oldest stadiums
😱 RECORDS: 7 unbreakable FCS records | The longest CFB field goal

Montana vs. Montana State: Scores, all-time series

Date Winner Score Location
1897 Montana 18–6 Bozeman, MT
1898 Montana 6–0 Missoula, MT
1898 Montana 16–0 Missoula, MT
1899 Montana State 5–0 Missoula, MT
1899 Montana State 38–0 Missoula, MT
1900 Montana State 38–0 Missoula, MT
1901 Montana State 31–0 Missoula, MT
1902 Montana State 38–0 Missoula, MT
1903 Montana State 13–6 Missoula, MT
1904 Montana 79–0 Missoula, MT
1908 Tie 0–0 Missoula, MT
1908 Montana State 5–0 Bozeman, MT
1909 Montana 3–0 Bozeman, MT
1909 Montana 15–5 Missoula, MT
1910 Tie 0–0 Bozeman, MT
1910 Montana 10–0 Missoula, MT
1912 Montana 7–0 Bozeman, MT
1912 Montana 39–3 Missoula, MT
1913 Montana 7–0 Bozeman, MT
1913 Montana 20–7 Missoula, MT
1914 Montana 26–9 Missoula, MT
1916 Tie 6–6 Bozeman, MT
1917 Montana 9–7 Missoula, MT
1919 Tie 6–6 Bozeman, MT
1920 Montana 28–0 Missoula, MT
1921 Montana 14–7 Bozeman, MT
1922 Montana 7–6 Missoula, MT
1923 Montana 24–13 Bozeman, MT
1925 Montana 28–7 Missoula, MT
1926 Montana 27–0 Butte, MT
1927 Montana 6–0 Butte, MT
1928 Tie 0–0 Butte, MT
1929 Montana State 14–12 Butte, MT
1930 Montana 13–6 Butte, MT
1931 Montana 37–6 Butte, MT
1932 Montana State 10–7 Butte, MT
1933 Montana 32–0 Butte, MT
1934 Montana 25–0 Butte, MT
1935 Montana 20–0 Butte, MT
1936 Montana 27–0 Butte, MT
1937 Montana 19–0 Butte, MT
1938 Montana 13–0 Butte, MT
1939 Montana 6–0 Butte, MT
1940 Montana 6–0 Butte, MT
1941 Montana 23–13 Butte, MT
1946 Montana 20–7 Butte, MT
1947 Montana State 13–12 Butte, MT
1948 Montana 14–0 Butte, MT
1949 Montana 34–12 Butte, MT
1950 Montana 33–0 Butte, MT
1951 Montana 38–0 Butte, MT
1952 Montana 35–12 Missoula, MT
1953 Montana 32–13 Bozeman, MT
1954 Montana 25–12 Missoula, MT
1955 Montana 19–0 Bozeman, MT
1956 Montana State 33–14 Missoula, MT
1957 Montana State 22–13 Bozeman, MT
1958 Montana State 20–6 Missoula, MT
1959 Montana State 40–6 Bozeman, MT
1960 Montana 10–6 Missoula, MT
1961 Montana State 10–9 Bozeman, MT
1962 Montana 36–19 Missoula, MT
1963 Montana State 18–3 Bozeman, MT
1964 Montana State 30–6 Missoula, MT
1965 Montana State 24–7 Bozeman, MT
1966 Montana State 38–0 Missoula, MT
1967 Montana State 14–8 Bozeman, MT
1968 Montana State 29–24 Missoula, MT
1969 Montana 7–6 Bozeman, MT
1970 Montana 35–0 Missoula, MT
1971 Montana 30–0 Bozeman, MT
1972 Montana State 21–3 Missoula, MT
1973 Montana State 33–7 Bozeman, MT
1974 Montana State 43–29 Missoula, MT
1975 Montana State 20–3 Bozeman, MT
1976 Montana State 21–12 Missoula, MT
1977 Montana State 24–19 Bozeman, MT
1978 Montana 24–8 Missoula, MT
1979 Montana State 38–21 Bozeman, MT
1980 Montana State 24–7 Missoula, MT
1981 Montana 27–17 Bozeman, MT
1982 Montana 45–15 Missoula, MT
1983 Montana State 28–8 Bozeman, MT
1984 Montana State 34–24 Missoula, MT
1985 Montana State 41–18 Bozeman, MT
1986 Montana 59–28 Missoula, MT
1987 Montana 55–7 Bozeman, MT
1988 Montana 17–3 Missoula, MT
1989 Montana 17–2 Bozeman, MT
1990 Montana 35–18 Missoula, MT
1991 Montana 16–9 Bozeman, MT
1992 Montana 29–17 Missoula, MT
1993 Montana 42–30 Bozeman, MT
1994 Montana 55–20 Missoula, MT
1995 Montana 42–33 Bozeman, MT
1996 Montana 35–14 Missoula, MT
1997 Montana 27–25 Bozeman, MT
1998 Montana 28–21 Missoula, MT
1999 Montana 49–3 Bozeman, MT
2000 Montana 28–3 Missoula, MT
2001 Montana 38–27 Bozeman, MT
2002 Montana State 10–7 Missoula, MT
2003 Montana State 27–20 Bozeman, MT
2004 Montana 38–22 Missoula, MT
2005 Montana State 16–6 Bozeman, MT
2006 Montana 13–7 Missoula, MT
2007 Montana 41–20 Bozeman, MT
2008 Montana 35–3 Missoula, MT
2009 Montana 33–19 Bozeman, MT
2010 Montana State 21–16 Missoula, MT
2011 Vacated Vacated Bozeman, MT
2012 Montana State 16–7 Missoula, MT
2013 Montana 28–14 Bozeman, MT
2014 Montana 34–7 Missoula, MT
2015 Montana 54–35 Bozeman, MT
2016 Montana State 24–17 Missoula, MT
2017 Montana State 31–23 Bozeman, MT
2018 Montana State 29–25 Missoula, MT
2019 Montana State 48–14 Bozeman, MT
2021 Montana 29–10 Missoula, MT
2022 Montana State 55-21 Bozeman, MT

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