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Riding opening-round momentum, Montana Grizzlies now turn attention to North Dakota State

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Dec 02, 2022

FARGO, N.D. — Sixteen teams remain in the FCS playoffs, and among them are the Montana Grizzlies who get set to take on North Dakota State after opening the posteason with a comeback victory over Southeast Missouri.

And the Griz will look to carry that momentum into Saturday's contest.

"Well I think winning begets momentum to a degree," Griz coach Bobby Hauck said. "It's all about winning or not, and getting a good win against a good playoff team gives you some momentum."

It's a tall task for the underdog Grizzlies as they face the cream of the FCS crop in the defending national champion Bison. Kickoff for Saturday's game is at 1:30 p.m. Mountain time. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Since 2010, NDSU is 31-1 at home in playoff games, and the Bison have also won 38 straight games when coming off of a bye.

These two programs last met in 2015 where they saw each other twice, including the season-opener in Missoula when the Grizzlies won a thriller, before the Bison exacted revenge in the FCS playoffs later that year.

The Bison are 5-4 against the Grizzlies, including 2-0 in the Fargodome, so the Grizzlies enter this game looking to even out the head-to-head series.

"It's a good gameday environment there," Hauck said. "I haven't been there, everybody says it's a great gameday environment so that's exciting. I'm glad it's indoors, I'm sure weather's not going to be great so it'll be great to be inside."

The teams also share common opponents in South Dakota and Indiana State, with the Grizzlies and Bison beating both of those schools.

But in the playoffs, anything can happen, and Montana will look to start faster and play cleaner against the Bison than they did in their playoff opener if they hope to advance to the FCS quarterfinals for the third straight season.

"It's super exciting," senior defensive tackle Eli Alford said. "I think we were all pumped up last week just to be able to play another game and to be able to go and play in Fargo, I think that's what a lot of the guys have been looking forward to since we've all gotten here so I think it's going to be really fun."