FCS No. 10 Montana at No. 3 Idaho
9:30 PM CT on ESPN2
I thought about including the Friday night Tulane – Memphis game, but I’m going to assume that if you’re someone who takes the time to read this, you’re probably already tuning in for that one (as you should). I hinted at this in the intro by mentioning the FCS ranks. I missed a great opportunity to showcase a major FCS battle early in the season when Montana State faced South Dakota State. I’m not passing on this one.
Let’s head to the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Kibble Dome, for the battle for the Little Brown Stein! This historic rivalry was played almost annually from 1914 through 1995. After a brief hiatus with Idaho’s move up to the FBS ranks, they renewed the series for five years before pausing things again from 2003-2017. With Idaho’s decision to drop back down to the FCS in 2018, the old rivals were reunited in the Big Sky (college football’s premiere conference) to, once again, play annually (well besides the COVID year).
Last season, the Vandals went into Missoula and snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Grizzlies. Technically four of those losses came from all the way back in 2000-2003, but even since rekindling the rivalry, Montana has had the upper-hand. Last season, first-year HC Jason Eck led Idaho to their best season since 2016, winning seven games and reaching the FCS playoffs.
The Vandals have picked up were the left off. They’re 5-1, having won a game over a FBS opponent in Nevada and were competitive with another in Cal. They have wins over a top-5 Sacramento State squad as well as a ranked Eastern Washington team. They boast a prolific offense, led by QB Gevani McCoy and RB Anthony Woods.
The Grizzlies are also 5-1. There was some concern about this team early on after a loss to a Northern Arizona that was assumed to be poor. But NAU is looking surprisingly good, and Montana seems to be getting back to playing like they program they’re expected to be. The Griz have the Big Sky’s second best scoring defense and have already picked off nine passes this season.
This is a perfect nightcap game. You’ve got a rivalry played between two good teams in a unique venue. Don’t let the FCS association turn you away. And it’s even being broadcast on a normal channel. Let the Little Brown Stein be how you close out your college football Saturday.