Montana State found the scoreboard first but it was all Montana after that as the Grizzlies went on to get the 28-14 win at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman.
The hometown Bobcats struck first Saturday with a punt return for touchdown by Shawn Johnson in the first quarter. The Grizzlies found the scoreboard just before half with an 7-yard touchdown run by Jordan Canada.
Montana's Travon Van ran in a score from three yards out to open up the 3rd quarter and give the Griz a 14-7 advantage. In the final quarter, Jordan Johnson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Clay Pierson with just over nine minutes to play to put Montana up 21-7.
Both teams tacked on another touchdown in the final minutes of the game but Montana State was unable to catch up with the Grizzlies. Montana State found the endzone on a Shawn Johnson touchdown run from one yard out to cut UM's lead to 21-14 with six minutes to play, but the Grizzlies answered right back with a Jordan Canada touchdown to make it 28-14 with under two minutes to play. That would be the final score of the game.
The Grizzlies (10-2, 6-2) extend their winning streak to four games and have clinched the FCS playoffs after failing to make the postseason last year.
"I couldn't be more proud of the senior class, the way that we all came together and led this group, turned it around," said senior Griz linebacker and Bozeman native Brock Coyle after the game. "We knew that we were a good football team and we were going to bring Montana back and we didn't go anywhere man, we just had to keep grinding and we knew we were going to be special this year."
"To come here and beat our rival is unbelievable," added Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson. "You know honestly one of the big reasons why I stayed at Montana was so I could play in this game again."
The Bobcats (7-5, 5-3) meanwhile stumbled to the finish of their regular season, losing their final three games and likely eliminating themselves from postseason play.
"You realize how close the margin is between victory and defeat and how hard you have to work in the off-season to get it back again," said MSU head coach Rob Ash after the game. "I promise you we'll be back with a vengeance."
The University of Montana now leads the all-time rivalry series 70-37-5.