Brawl of the Wild

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Brawl of the Wild
Montana UM logo.gifMontana State Bobcats Logo.svg
Montana GrizzliesMontana State Bobcats

Total meetings111
Series recordMontana leads 70-36-5
First meetingNovember 25, 1897
Montana 18, MSU 6
Last meetingNovember 19, 2011
Montana 36, MSU 10
Next meetingNovember 2012
Largest winMontana 70, MSU 0 (1904)
Longest win streakMontana 16 (1986–2001)
Current win streakMontana 1 (2011)
TrophyThe Great Divide Trophy
  (Redirected from The Great Divide Trophy)
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Brawl of the Wild
Montana UM logo.gifMontana State Bobcats Logo.svg
Montana GrizzliesMontana State Bobcats

Total meetings111
Series recordMontana leads 70-36-5
First meetingNovember 25, 1897
Montana 18, MSU 6
Last meetingNovember 19, 2011
Montana 36, MSU 10
Next meetingNovember 2012
Largest winMontana 70, MSU 0 (1904)
Longest win streakMontana 16 (1986–2001)
Current win streakMontana 1 (2011)
TrophyThe Great Divide Trophy

The Brawl of the Wild (also referred to as Cat-Griz and Griz-Cat) is an annual college football rivalry game between the Montana State University Bobcats and the University of Montana Grizzlies. The rivalry began on November 26, 1897 when the two teams played in Bozeman, Montana, home of Montana State, with Montana prevailing by the score of 18-6. At the time, Montana State was known as Montana State College, while Montana was known as Montana State. The rivalry is the 31st oldest among active rivalries in NCAA Division I and of those is the 11th oldest west of the Mississippi River. It is also the 4th oldest active rivalry in the FCS and the oldest west of the Mississippi River.

During a period that is often referred to in Montana as "The Streak", Montana won every meeting from 1986 until 2001. A few of these games were close, but most of them gave a strong indication that the two football programs were going in very different directions. Montana won two NCAA Division 1-AA championships during "The Streak", while Montana State had one season where they failed to win a single game. On a cold, snowy day in November 2002, Montana State was finally able to go on the road and snap Montana's 16 game run.

The game almost always, especially of late, has major implications on the Big Sky Conference championship and its automatic bid to the Division I tournament. The name "Brawl of the Wild" is now used almost exclusively to refer to the matchup in official publications, but most people in Montana affectionately refer to the game simply as "Cat-Griz" (Bobcat fans) or "Griz-Cat" (Grizzly fans).


The Great Divide Trophy

The Great Divide Trophy was created in 2001 by Dave Samuelson. The trophy was made possible by numerous donations. The winner of each game will possess the trophy for one year. The school with the most wins at the end of the 21st century will hold the trophy forever.

Montana was the first school to receive the trophy following their victory in the 2001 game. Since then the trophy has since changed hands six times. As of 2012, the trophy is in the possession of Montana.



The Brawl of the Wild is the game between MSU and their primary rival, the University of Montana Grizzlies, for The Great Divide Trophy. As of the most recent matchup in November 2011, Montana leads the series 70-36-5.

The series has three distinct periods. From 1897 to 1916 the teams didn't belong to a conference and at times would play twice per year. Early seasons had seven games or less with one season seeing the Grizzlies play just one game. Four of the five ties in the series came during this era. Montana won 12 games to Montana State's 7.

In 1917 Montana State joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and in 1924 Montana joined what is now the PAC-12 Conference when it entered the Pacific Coast Conference. The RMAC included several teams that would become Mountain West members. When MSU joined the RMAC included Colorado, Colorado State, Utah, Utah State, and Brigham Young. When UM joined the PCC included Stanford, California, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and Idaho. The Bobcats remained in the RMAC through 1956, while the Grizzlies remained in the PCC through 1949 and joined the Skyline (aka Mountain States) Conference from 1951-1961. MSU was independent from 1957-1962 and UM was independent in 1950 and 1962. During this period UM enjoyed a 30-8-1 edge in Cat-Griz games.

Both schools entered the Big Sky Conference as charter members in 1963 with Montana holding a 42-15-2 series lead. From 1963 to 1985 Montana State enjoyed its most successful period of the Cat-Griz rivalry. MSU won 17 games to just six for UM. Following that Montana started "The Streak" when it won 16 straight games from 1986 to 2001. MSU ended the drought by winning three of four, while UM holds a 6-4 edge after "The Streak" with Montana winning the most recent game 36-10 in Bozeman. The Big Sky era shows Montana with a 28-21 lead.

Montana has won 22 of the last 26 meetings. Since MSU won its first national championship in 1956, the series shows UM with a 30-26 edge.

Greatest games


In 1968, in what is considered by many as the most exciting game in the Cat-Griz series, Dennis Erickson, flanker Ron Bain and running back Paul Schafer lead a monumental comeback as the Bobcats clinch a tie for the Big Sky championship -- their third straight. Trailing 24-9 in the fourth quarter, Montana State scored 20 points in the last nine minutes and won 29-24 when Schafer, who had 58 carries for 234 yards in the game, dove into the end zone with 12 seconds left. The Grizzlies appeared to have the drive stopped at the MSU 32, but a facemask penalty gave the Cats new life on the 17.

In all, 34 points are scored in the final quarter. Bain's brother, Doug of the Grizzlies, gave the Montana a 17-9 lead early in the quarter on a pass from Ray Brum. After another UM touchdown made the score 24-9 with just over 10 minutes to go as it looked as if the Grizzlies would win going away, but the Bobcats weren't done. Schaefer scored on a short run with 8:15 to play and Erickson hit Bain for a touchdown with five minutes left cutting the lead to two at 24-22.

After Schafer's touchdown, the Grizzlies nearly spoil things for MSU. UM takes over at the 20 with speedy receiver Ron Baines at quarterback. He gains 15 and another 15 are tacked on by an unnecessary roughness penalty. Baines then makes a circus run of 37 yards from midfield before he's dragged down at the MSU 13 after time expires.


In another exciting finish of the series, Montana State fights back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to take a 25-24 lead on a three-yard run by Eric Kinnamon with 22 seconds to play in Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats appeared poised to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Grizzlies, but Montana wasn't done.

Thanks to a kickoff that sailed out of bounds Montana gets the ball on its own 35-yard line with no time expended off the clock. After an incomplete pass UM quarterback Brian Ah Yat finds receiver Justin Olsen for a completion of 46 yards to the MSU 19 with eight seconds to play. Ah Yat would recover his own muffed snap on the next play and after a UM timeout Kris Heppner kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired giving Montana the 27-25 win.

Just as the first half ended MSU was whistled for having too many men on the field giving UM one extra play and the Grizzlies made the Bobcats pay scoring a touchdown on the last play of the half. The Bobcats also misfired on special teams all day. Prior to kicking the ball out of bounds they failed on three conversion attempts.


Montana State would get its heart broken again - not as bad as in 1997 -- a year later. Leading 21-20 and ahead for most of the second half, the Bobcats fall when Dallas Neil takes a pass from Brian Ah Yat and tightropes down the sideline for an 18-yard touchdown with just over five minutes to play. UM converts the two-point attempt and the Grizzlies win 28-21.

The game is played at a slippery Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula and extends the UM winning streak over MSU to 13.


The Bobcats would finally put an end to their losing streak at 16 games when true freshman quarterback Travis Lulay leads them to a 10-7 win in Missoula on a snowy, windy day. Lulay connected with Junior Adams for a 53-yard touchdown in the third quarter and, after a fumble led to Montana's lone score of the day, MSU's defense made it hold up.

The Bobcats held UM quarterback John Edwards to just 8-for-32 and 106 yards passing on the day. Edwards completed just one pass in the first half. MSU was led by senior running back Ryan Johnson, who ran for 132 yards, and cornerback Joey Thomas, who blocked a field goal and played a big role in Edwards' struggles.

Game results

#YearWinning teamLosing teamSeries
11897Montana18Montana State6Montana leads 1-0
21898Montana6Montana State0Montana leads 2-0
31898Montana16Montana State0Montana leads 3-0
41899Montana State5Montana0Montana leads 3-1
51899Montana State38Montana0Montana leads 3-2
61900Montana State38Montana0Series tied 3-3
71901Montana State31Montana0Montana State leads 4-3
81902Montana State38Montana0Montana State leads 5-3
91903Montana State13Montana6Montana State leads 6-3
101904Montana79Montana State0Montana State leads 6-4
111908Montana0Montana State0Montana State leads 6-4-1
121908Montana State5Montana0Montana State leads 7-4-1
131909Montana3Montana State0Montana State leads 7-5-1
141909Montana15Montana State5Montana State leads 7-6-1
151910Montana0Montana State0Montana State leads 7-6-2
161910Montana10Montana State0Series tied 7-7-2
171912Montana7Montana State0Montana leads 8-7-2
181912Montana39Montana State3Montana leads 9-7-2
191913Montana7Montana State0Montana leads 10-7-2
201913Montana20Montana State7Montana leads 11-7-2
211914Montana26Montana State9Montana leads 12-7-2
221916Montana6Montana State6Montana leads 12-7-3
231917Montana9Montana State7Montana leads 13-7-3
241919Montana6Montana State6Montana leads 13-7-4
241920Montana28Montana State0Montana leads 14-7-4
251921Montana14Montana State7Montana leads 15-7-4
261922Montana7Montana State6Montana leads 16-7-4
271923Montana24Montana State13Montana leads 17-7-4
281925Montana28Montana State7Montana leads 18-7-4
291926Montana27Montana State0Montana leads 19-7-4
301927Montana6Montana State0Montana leads 20-7-4
311928Montana0Montana State0Montana leads 20-7-5
321929Montana State14Montana12Montana leads 20-8-5
331930Montana13Montana State6Montana leads 21-8-5
341931Montana37Montana State6Montana leads 22-8-5
351932Montana State10Montana7Montana leads 22-9-5
361933Montana32Montana State0Montana leads 23-9-5
371934Montana25Montana State0Montana leads 24-9-5
381935Montana20Montana State0Montana leads 25-9-5
391936Montana27Montana State0Montana leads 26-9-5
401937Montana19Montana State0Montana leads 27-9-5
411938Montana13Montana State0Montana leads 28-9-5
421939Montana6Montana State0Montana leads 29-9-5
431940Montana6Montana State0Montana leads 30-9-5
441941Montana23Montana State13Montana leads 31-9-5
461946Montana20Montana State7Montana leads 32-9-5
471947Montana State13Montana12Montana leads 32-10-5
481948Montana14Montana State0Montana leads 33-10-5
491949Montana34Montana State12Montana leads 34-10-5
501950Montana33Montana State0Montana leads 35-10-5
511951Montana38Montana State0Montana leads 36-10-5
521952Montana35Montana State12Montana leads 37-10-5
531953Montana32Montana State13Montana leads 38-10-5
541954Montana25Montana State12Montana leads 39-10-5
551955Montana19Montana State0Montana leads 40-10-5
561956Montana State33Montana14Montana leads 40-11-5
571957Montana State22Montana13Montana leads 40-12-5
581958Montana State20Montana6Montana leads 40-13-5
591959Montana State40Montana6Montana leads 40-14-5
601960Montana10Montana State6Montana leads 41-14-5
611961Montana State10Montana9Montana leads 41-15-5
621962Montana36Montana State19Montana leads 42-15-5
631963Montana State18Montana3Montana leads 42-16-5
641964Montana State30Montana6Montana leads 42-17-5
651965Montana State24Montana7Montana leads 42-18-5
661966Montana State38Montana0Montana leads 42-19-5
671967Montana State14Montana8Montana leads 42-20-5
681968Montana State29Montana24Montana leads 42-21-5
691969Montana7Montana State6Montana leads 43-21-5
701970Montana35Montana State0Montana leads 44-21-5
711971Montana30Montana State0Montana leads 45-21-5
721972Montana State21Montana3Montana leads 45-22-5
731973Montana State33Montana7Montana leads 45-23-5
741974Montana State43Montana29Montana leads 45-24-5
751975Montana State20Montana3Montana leads 45-25-5
761976Montana State21Montana12Montana leads 45-26-5
771977Montana State24Montana19Montana leads 45-27-5
781978Montana24Montana State8Montana leads 46-27-5
791979Montana State38Montana21Montana leads 46-28-5
801980Montana State24Montana7Montana leads 46-29-5
811981Montana27Montana State17Montana leads 47-29-5
821982Montana45Montana State15Montana leads 48-29-5
831983Montana State28Montana8Montana leads 48-30-5
841984Montana State34Montana24Montana leads 48-31-5
851985Montana State41Montana18Montana leads 48-32-5
861986Montana59Montana State28Montana leads 49-32-5
871987Montana55Montana State7Montana leads 50-32-5
881988Montana17Montana State3Montana leads 51-32-5
891989Montana17Montana State2Montana leads 52-32-5
901990Montana35Montana State18Montana leads 53-32-5
911991Montana16Montana State9Montana leads 54-32-5
921992Montana29Montana State17Montana leads 55-32-5
931993Montana42Montana State30Montana leads 56-32-5
941994Montana55Montana State20Montana leads 57-32-5
951995Montana42Montana State33Montana leads 58-32-5
961996Montana35Montana State14Montana leads 59-32-5
971997Montana27Montana State25Montana leads 60-32-5
981998Montana28Montana State21Montana leads 61-32-5
991999Montana49Montana State3Montana leads 62-32-5
1002000Montana28Montana State3Montana leads 63-32-5
1012001Montana38Montana State27Montana leads 64-32-5
1022002Montana State10Montana7Montana leads 64-33-5
1032003Montana State27Montana20Montana leads 64-34-5
1042004Montana38Montana State22Montana leads 65-34-5
1052005Montana State16Montana6Montana leads 65-35-5
1062006Montana13Montana State7Montana leads 66-35-5
1072007Montana41Montana State20Montana leads 67-35-5
1082008Montana35Montana State3Montana leads 68-35-5
1092009Montana33Montana State19Montana leads 69-35-5
1102010Montana State21Montana16Montana leads 69-36-5
1112011Montana36Montana State10Montana leads 70-36-5

External links

See also