The quarterfinals of the 2011 FCS Playoffs begin on Friday night with the No. 4 Montana Grizzlies hosting the No. 5 Northern Iowa Panthers at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The Grizzlies cruised to a 41-14 victory over the Central Arkansas Bears. They finished the first half of the game with a 31-0 lead and then allowed the Bears to score a touchdown in each quarter of the second half. Peter Nguyen and Jordan Canada led the rushing attack that piled up 229 yards on the ground. Canada scored two of Montana's five touchdowns while quarterback Jordan Johnson threw for two touchdowns.
The Panthers had to come back from a 14-7 halftime deficit to the Wofford Terriers. Somewhat reminiscent of several of Tim Tebow's starts for the Denver Broncos (but taken to an extreme), Wofford attempted just three passes while rushing the ball for 73 times for 457 yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers. The Grizzlies should look to exploit that same opportunity.
Of course, the game could have changed had it not been for Wofford's error on a kick return. Stephon Shelton caught the ball and nonchalantly walked over toward the referee, but he had never downed the ball. He lost control of the ball and saw Northern Iowa recover the ball for a touchdown. The Panthers went up by two touchdowns and that changed the flow of the game.
The winner of this game will play the victor of the Montana State Bobcats vs. the No. 1 Sam Houston State Bearkats game that is on Saturday afternoon. The semifinals take place on Dec. 16 and 17.
Game time/date: 6:05 p.m. MT, Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
Location: John Hoyt Field at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Missoula, Mont.
Announcers: Justin Kutcher and Tom Luginbill
Series record: Montana leads, 4-0
Stick with our 2011 FCS Playoffs StoryStream for more on the postseason.