Montana State's football program certainly has a rich history full of exciting victories. Over this past week I researched and compiled some of the Bobcats best wins of all time. It was incredibly difficult to boil it down to just 10, but I ultimately based my decisions upon the game's importance and historic significance.
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Here they are…
10. The Cats' First Ever Win in 1897
The Montana State College Bobcats football team played their second game of a four-game inaugural season in Helena, Mont. against Helena's high school squad. The Cats arrived by train and were taken by bobsled, yes, bobsled, to where they were staying. The only touchdown scored in the game was from Montana State's E. J. Moore.
Final Score: Montana State 8 Helena High School 0[divider]
9. 1956 Brawl of the Wild Game
In 1956, Montana State took on Montana in Missoula, a venue the Cats hadn't won at since 1903. Don Edwards ran in a pair of touchdowns for the Bobcats during the contest and Ron Warzeka recovered a fumble, leading the cats to victory. 1956 was also, Bobcats legend, Sonny Holland's first season.
Montana State — 33
8. 2002 Brawl of the Wild Game
In 2002 the Cats broke a 16-game losing streak to cross-state rival Montana. Lead by future CFL talent and true freshman, Travis Lulay, the Cats finally defeated the Griz. Lulay would go on to beat Montana in three of his four meetings against them.
Montana State –10
Montana — 7[divider]
7. 1976 Quarterfinal
The Cats narrowly held on in a quarter-final game against New Hampshire. With seven minutes left in the game the Wildcats scored a touchdown but missed the extra point giving Montana State a one-point edge. Bobcats defense remained tough, securing the win for the Cats. Interestingly enough, Montana State met New Hampshire again in the playoffs in 2011 where the Cats won again by one point.
Montana State — 17
New Hampshire — 16[divider]
6. The Cats First Post-WWII Win
Montana State's football team returned in 1946 after many battled in World War II. Unfortunately, 14 players from the Cats' 1941 team perished during the war efforts. In their opening game, the Bobcats defeated Brigham Young in a tight contest. The 1946 squad went on to earn Montana State's first-ever bowl bid later that year.
Montana State — 14
Brigham Young — 13
5. Montana State Championship
In 1929, Montana State duked it out with the Carroll College Saints, a cross-state foe. The game was played on Thanksgiving day with a record 200 fans in attendance in Great Falls, Mont. In addition to beating the Saints, the Cats also defeated the Griz earlier in the year.
Montana State — 7
Carroll College — 0[divider]
4. 1984 Semifinals
The Bobcats were facing defeat, down 20-18 with four minutes left in the game against Rhode Island. The Rams were only 13 yards away from scoring a touchdown and sealing a victory, when Montana State strong safety, Joe Roberts, picked off a pass and ran it back 97 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The Cats tacked on one more touchdown before the end of the contest.
Montana State — 32
Rhode Island — 20[divider]
3. 1956 Aluminum Bowl
The Aluminum Bowl was not a Bobcats win, but it wasn't a loss either. In 1956, Montana State and St. Joseph's were declared NAIA co-champs after the contest ended in a tie. The Cats' success in 1956 began a long line of great Bobcat football teams extending to 1984.
Montana State — 0
St. Joseph's — 0[divider]
2. 1976 Pioneer Bowl
After an exceptional playoff run, the Bobcats beat the Akron Zips in the NCAA Division II National Championship game, which was known as the Pioneer Bowl. The Cats managed to fend off an Akron fourth-quarter comeback to win their second national title. Sonny Holland was in his sixth year of coaching for the Cats.
Montana State — 24
Akron — 13[divider]
1. The 1984 National Championship
Following a 1-10 1983 Season, the 1984 Bobcats squad marched all the way to the Division I-AA championship game against Louisiana Tech. Montana State's senior tight end Joe Bignell, a future Bobcats Hall of Famer, racked up 130 receiving yards on 10 receptions including two touchdowns in the Cats' third national title.
Montana State — 19
Louisiana Tech — 6[divider]
- 2011 Brawl of the Wild Game
- 1976 trouncing of Hawaii
- 1964 Camellia Bowl
Special thanks to Bill Lamberty, Montana State's SID, and the MSU Exponent for helping me sort through Bobcats history.[divider]
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