Fourteen seconds remained on the game clock. The Cats had come back from a 22-point deficit and were now clinging to a four-point lead. Lining up across from the MSU defense was the Grizzlies, the longtime rivals of the Bobcats. There was nothing standing between the Cats and defeat except a measly four yards to the goal line. To secure victory and thrill the home crowd, UM had to advance the ball a mere 12 feet for a touchdown. The ball was snapped, and the running back ran the ball through the open lane right in front of him. He came within 12 inches of the goal line before MSU defenders swooped in to meet him. Less than a half-second later the ball was loose and in the arms of MSU, thus securing the win, having flipped the score from 0-22 in the second quarter to 29-25 at the end of the game. While it may sound more like the plot of a dramatic sports movie than reality, the final seconds of the 2018 Brawl of the Wild will surely be remembered, and MSU senior film student Dawson Ahrenstorff is on a mission to make sure of it.
Ahrenstorff is currently working on a 40 minute documentary recounting the famous game and the events leading up to it. The film started as a seven minute video Ahrenstorff turned in for a class project, but he knew that version was simply not enough to do the game justice. “I knew there was way more to the story than those seven minutes,” Ahrenstorff said.
Ahrenstorff was uniquely situated for this task. He had followed the team during the 2018 season with his camera working as a creative assistant in the athletics department and was at the game during the fabled comeback. “I was on the sidelines, and I could see the reactions and the conversations. I could see the fight from start to finish,” Ahrenstoff said. “Right after, you knew it was going to be an instant classic.”
This led Ahrenstoff to begin seeking funds for the project. He pitched his idea to the Bobcat Quarterback Club, the fundraising organization for MSU football, and opened up a Kickstarter campaign. In less than 24 hours, he surpassed his fundraising goal of $12,000. “One thing I’ve realized is that if you find a story where other people are inspired as well, and people are behind you supporting it, it only makes it easier and more motivating. I only hope I can give it justice,” Ahrenstoff said of the overwhelming support the project received.
The film was originally scheduled for release during Cat-Griz week, but experienced several delays, setting it back to a tentative January date. “There were a lot of moving parts where we realized we had to hold off in order to do the best that we could,” Ahrenstoff said. He also attributed delays to the search for the ideal venue to premiere the documentary.
Despite the delay, the MSU community is awaiting this tribute to perhaps one of the greatest moments in Bobcat football history. To find more information about Ahrenstoff’s film or to make a pledge to his Kickstarter, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miracleinmissoula/miracle-in-missoula-documentary.