MISSOULA — The Great Divide Trophy is back in the Garden City.
Cam Humphrey threw for 220 yards and one touchdown and a punishing defensive attack from Montana allowed the No. 7 Grizzlies to stomp No. 3 Montana State 29-10 on Saturday in the 120th meeting between the two rivals. With the win, the Griz snapped a four-game losing streak to MSU.
Montana's defense completely controlled the pace of play, while the offensive aerial attack helped the Griz out-gain the Cats 236 to 88 in total yards in the first half.
UM running back Junior Bergen, who originally committed to MSU in high school before reversing course, opened the scoring for the Griz on their second from scrimmage with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Humphrey. Montana State later got within UM's 10-yard line, but back-to-back false starts and a sack forced the Cats to settle for a Blake Glessner field goal. The Cats wouldn't score again until late in the fourth quarter.
"It was surreal for sure," Humphrey said. "I’ve been here for a handful of years now and it’s been unfortunate that jt hasn’t gone our way in the past so to see it go our way and in dominant fashion like it was."
MSU opened the second half with another three-and-out, and Bergen's ensuing punt return of the second half set up Montana deep in MSU territory. Kevin Macias would drill another field goal, this time from 50 yards, to extend Montana's lead to 19-3.
Humphrey threw his second interception of the game with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, courtesy of MSU's Troy Andersen. However, on fourth down of that possession, the Cats elected to go for a fake field goal. Linebacker Jace Lewis knocked the ball out of holder Bryce Leighton's hands, and cornerback Justin Ford scooped it for a 56-yard touchdown.
"I’d be hard-pressed to name a Montana defense that was ever as good as this one and maybe might not be close," Griz coach Bobby Hauck said. "This is a great defense. They play together, they have great understanding, and they play kinda mean."
Montana State failed to generate another meaningful drive until late in the fourth, when quarterback Matt McKay found Nate Stewart for a 20-yard touchdown in garbage time.
The Griz held MSU to just 204 total yards of offense and racked up four sacks, led by Patrick O'Connell with 1.5. The Bobcats got five sacks on Humphrey. Macias finished the day 5 for 5 on field goals for Montana.
The game set a Washington-Grizzly Stadium attendance record with 26,856 fans at the game.
With the win, Montana improves to 9-2, 6-2 overall. Montana State, which had won nine in a row prior to the game, falls to 9-2.
"We never got that momentum back and it’s unfortunate you feel terrible for our guys and you could hear it in their voices," MSU coach Brent Vigen said. "They want this. This isn’t a matter of us not understanding the gravity of this game or wanting it. Sometimes football just takes its twists and turns and we just didn’t make enough plays, they did, and here we are."