Clu presents another very interesting installment of the Rivalry Trophy Series.
OK so I am 0-3 on the year with my predictions for the Rivalry trophy series thus far, but I’m not sweating it, no sir. But, in order for me to assure victory this week, I went ahead and changed it up a little. This week I found an unknown rivalry out in the western frontier. It features a match up between two big time powerhouses out of the FCS (Football Championship Sub-division, formerly known as Division I-AA). It’s an FCS Road Trip everybody, so let’s head on out to Eastern Washington U!
University of Montana (2-2, 0-1 in the Big Sky Conference) @ Eastern Washington University (2-1, 1-0 in the Big Sky Conference)
When: Saturday, September 29 at 7:15 PM (EST)
Last Meeting: Montana defeated Eastern Washington 17-14, Montana leads overall 26-11-1
With a rivalry that dates back to 1938, both Eastern Washington and Montana have had many heated blood baths against each other, especially in the last few seasons. This match up has become so heated because, in the past the winner of this contest has usually gone on to become the Big Sky Conference Champion.
Furthermore, the winner usually makes a run in the FCS playoffs. As a side note, Eastern Washington recently became only the second school in the country to have changed their turf from natural grass to an artificial grass with a different color, which is an extra way for the home team to have the advantage over their opponents. Is it unfair? Maybe to the opponent, but hey, I like it! The color of choice for the Eagles is a brightly blinding red, of course (in case you didn’t know, the Eagles colors are red, black & white, go figure). I mean look… how can you defend against that!? Oh by the way, just in case you guys don’t know who the other school is with the colorful turf, it’s Boise State, which has that annoying blue turf.
Just how much do these schools hate one another? Well, for starters they are the two winningest teams in recent Big Sky Conference history. Since the year 2000, Montana has at least shared the Big Sky Championship every year except for 2010, while Eastern Washington has shared three conference titles in that time. Also since 2000, the Grizzlies have won 9 out of the 12 meetings between the two teams, with the last victory for the Eagles coming in 2010. Both programs know that a win here is a step in the right direction towards another Big Sky title.
Here’s a little knowledge for your noggin: In 2010 Eastern Washington won their first and only FCS National Championship in a big come from behind victory over Delaware, 20-19! Even the Governor got in on the action with her tweeting. She obviously eats her veggies. Her favorite must be lima beans… see for yourself!
For the Grizzlies of Montana, it has been a few years since they last won a national title: 2001 to be exact. But they have been in the big game many times in the better part of the last decade: 2000, 2001 (National champs) 2004, 2008, 2009… Someone get them a coach and some players who can help ’em win the big game for god sakes!
Why the Eagles Will Win:
Watch out for QB Kyle Padron. This SMU transfer has become the wheels that drive this Eagles offensive attack, asmhe has thrown for 4 TDs and has nearly 800 yards passing this season and almost 6,000 for his career. RB Jordan Talley has also been a major contributor on offense, with 199 yards rushing and 3 TDs.
Why the Grizzlies Will Win:
The Grizzlies rely on a heavy rushing attack led by RB Dan Moore (407 yards, 4 TDs) and RB Peter Nguyen (162 yards, 1 rushing TD), but the star of the team is QB Trent McKinney, who has thrown for 815 yards and 6 TDs and has also worked wonders with his running ability, as he has scrambled for 199 yards and 3 TDs too. If McKinney can show some consistency (seeing how he has 7 picks to go along with his 6 touchdowns), and if he can learn to be just a little bit more accurate with his arm, then the Grizzlies can be very tough to beat.
So I bet all of you are saying… “Clu, please tell us who you think will win this game!” And if you’re not wondering, well then I will tell you anyways! Despite having the home field advantage, both location wise and artistically speaking, I feel as if Montana will upset Eastern Washington at the inferno. And just in case you’re curious to know a little bit more about this rivalry, here’s a video I found from the last time Montana visited Roos Field (a.k.a “The Inferno”) in Eastern Washington.
Featured image courtesy of: bulgo125/flickr.com
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