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HomeNewsMontana NewsMontana heads to FCS title game with wild double-OT victory

Montana heads to FCS title game with wild double-OT victory

Last week, Montana coach Bobby Hauck characterized playoff overtime as “agonizing,” yet it proved to be fortuitous for his resurgent Grizzlies. In an epic showdown of Texas proportions, Montana once again endured overtime, securing its spot in the FCS national championship game. The second-seeded Griz triumphed in double overtime, clinching a 31-29 victory over perennial powerhouse North Dakota State on Saturday, with a record-breaking playoff crowd of 26,544 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. This marks their first appearance in the title game since 2009.

With a stellar record of 13-1 and a remarkable 10-game winning streak, Montana is set to face defending national champion South Dakota State (14-0) for the championship on January 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, with the kickoff scheduled for noon Mountain time. The game will be broadcast on ABC.

Head coach Bobby Hauck expressed the significance of the win in the program’s history, deeming it a “monumental” achievement. He described the game as one of the most momentous in stadium history, ranking among the top five. Hauck marveled at the intensity of the match, praising the relentless battles waged by both defenses, offenses, and special teams.

Montana emerged victorious in another thrilling encounter, relying on a familiar formula of resilient bend-but-don’t-break defense and crucial plays by standout Junior Bergen. Overtime once again proved to be the pathway to success, following last week’s quarterfinal round win against Furman.

For Montana, the journey to the national title game represents a long-awaited return, with aspirations to secure the program’s first championship since 2009 when they lost the title games in 2004, 2008, and 2009 (played in Chattanooga, Tenn.).

The conclusion of North Dakota State’s season marks the end of a pursuit for a 10th FCS title. Additionally, it signifies the end of an era as coach Matt Entz departs to join Southern Cal, serving as the linebackers coach with the added title of assistant head coach for defense.

By: Montana Newsroom staff

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