A trip to the 2011 FCS Championship is on the line Friday evening when the No. 4 Montana Grizzlies (11-2) head south to Huntsville, Tx., to face the No. 1 Sam Houston State Bearkats (13-0) in a semifinals matchup. The winner awaits whichever team emerges from the No. 3 Georgia Southern vs. No. 2 North Dakota State contest.
The Grizzlies cruised to a 48-10 victory over the Northern Iowa Panthers last Friday. Quarterback Jordan Johnson threw for just 196 yards, but he had three touchdown passes and also ran for one other one. Also with his legs, Johnson was the team's leading rusher with 86 yards on 10 carries. However, against the Bearkats, the Grizzlies will need the rushing triumvirate of Jason Canada, Dan Moore and Peter Nguyen to pound the ball aplenty.
On defense, the Grizzlies will need first-team AP All-American LB Caleb McSurdy and DB Trumaine Johnson to lead the defense against a strong Bearkat offense.
The Bearkats ran wild over the Montana State Bobcats last Sunday in a 49-13 victory. The offense ran the ball 41 times for 428 yards and four touchdowns. However, second-team All-American running back Tim Flanders had just 10 carries for 38 yards. Richard Sincere led the ground attack with 11 carries for 160 yards. Quarterback Brian Bell won't be asked to pass much, most likely, but he's no slouch on the ground, either. He had a 54-yard touchdown run, aided in part by a few broken tacklers by Bobcats defenders.
The Bearkats' defense was able to stop the Bobcats from running, allowing just 77 yards on the ground. Can they stop another Montana ground game?
Game time/date: 6:00 p.m. MT, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011
Location: Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, Huntsville, TX.
Announcers: Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Quint Kessenich
Series record: Montana leads, 3-1
Stick with our 2011 FCS Playoffs StoryStream for more on the postseason.