MISSOULA — After the blowout loss to the rival Montana State Bobcats on Saturday, the Montana Grizzlies chances of getting a top-eight seed and first-round bye dwindled.
However, on Sunday morning the Griz were given the sixth seed, earning an accompanying bye in the opening round of the FCS playoffs. Montana, which spent last week at No. 3, fell behind Montana State, Sacramento State, Weber State, James Madison and North Dakota State, in that order.
"It's nice to be seeded sixth. I'm not sure when I took the job that I thought we would be at that position this soon. So I'm excited about it. We've had a great year, a great season. I'm glad for our team," said Montana head coach Bobby Hauck.
The bye is always a nice leg up for any team looking to make a deep run in the FCS playoffs, but this Montana team specifically needed a rest, and Hauck knows that.
"The work our guys put in and our assistant coaches to get us this week off is productive, especially considering how banged up we are, and we didn't look like we had a lot of gas in the tank (in the 48-14 loss Saturday at Montana State), so a week off will be productive," said Hauck. "I'm not sure coming out of the Weber State game how ready we were to play any more football. So we’ll get healed up and fired up and be ready to go."
While the Grizzlies did suffer the bad loss on Saturday, Hauck has confidence that his team can bounce back.
"We've had two bad performances this year. We had 10 really, pretty good performances, in terms of how we played. So I think the 10 probably epitomize who we are, rather than the two," said Hauck.
Montana (9-3, 6-2) will host the winner between Southeastern Louisiana (7-4, 6-3) and Villanova (9-3, 5-3) on Saturday, Dec. 7. Montana lost to Villanova in the 2010 national championship game.