The Montana Grizzlies face a tough rebound game this week, traveling to North Dakota.
After losing their first conference game of the season with an uncharacteristically sloppy performance against Portland State, the Griz will take on the 3-2 Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks. UND is playing this season as an FCS independent as it transitions to the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The Portland State loss sliced away at Montana’s margin of error, meaning every game from here until the end of the season is a big one for the Griz, who can likely afford just one more loss before the season-ending Brawl of the Wild if they want to make the playoffs.
North Dakota could very easily be that loss. The Fighting Hawks were blown out by FBS top-10 Washington and lost a very close game to Big Sky surprise team Idaho State, but have also beaten FCS ranked team Sam Houston State.
North Dakota thrives on a running game that’s averaging nearly 250 yards per contest, as well as a defense that Bobby Hauck called the best the Grizzlies will have faced thus far.
“It’s a big week for us, having to come off a loss at home and go on the road and get a win,” Hauck said. “This will be a tough trip. … The hard part is they’re very good.”