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Montana Grizzlies preparing for Montana State Bobcats' multiple running backs

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 15:38:58-05

MISSOULA — Last week the Montana Grizzlies stuffed the No. 4 run offense in the Big Sky Conference, holding Weber State to just 69 total yards, 108 yards less than its season average (177.4).

Coming into the final regular-season game of the year against the Montana State Bobcats, the Griz are expecting to see a heavy dose of the ground game.

Montana State currently has nine players listed as a running back on its roster. Throughout the season the Montana State backfield has seen six separate players go for more than 100 yards. Through Week 12, the Cats have the No. 1-ranked rush offense, averaging a ridiculous 259.9 yards per game. However, Montana comes in with the second-ranked rush defense, allowing only 112.6 yards per game.

"We were kind of in a game like that last week, where there were some similarities," said Montana coach Bobby Hauck. "It's November and the game is in the state of Montana -- as I just mentioned, we're all from Montana. You got to be able to run the ball, and both sides are going to try to do that."

On the offensive side of things, Montana's run offense has improved week by week in 2019. Junior college transfer Marcus Knight has emerged as the bellcow in a backfield that also features true freshman Nick Ostmo. Knight has tallied 853 yards on 185 carries for an average of 77.5 yards per game. While that puts Knight at No. 6 in the Big Sky for rushing totals, he's been hard to keep out of the end zone. Knight leads the entire conference in scoring with 19 total touchdowns, three more than the next-closest player (Joe Logan of Northern Arizona).

Montana (9-2 overall, 6-1 Big Sky Conference) and Montana State (8-3, 5-2) kick off in the 119th Cat-Griz game at noon Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.