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If you’ve been listening to press conferences and radio show’s with UM head football coach Bobby Hauck, you know he always says he wants Montana to play its best football in November. Now that the golden month of football is here, it’s extremely unclear whether the Griz are playing good football, great football or borderline-terrible football ahead of the Brawl of the Wild.

Hauck himself said he doesn’t know what it will take for UM to play its best ball. 

“Part of it is being healthy, which we’re not,” Hauck said. “Beyond being healthy, I don’t know, we need to execute and play well.” 

UM started its season with a shocking upset win over Washington, and then destroyed Western Illinois at home. The Griz seemed to have returned to dominance. 

But, after soundly beating Cal Poly on homecoming, the troubles began. UM lost to Eastern Washington and saw its starting quarterback Cam Humphrey go down with an ankle injury. Since Humphrey’s injury, it seems as if every other player on UM’s team has also been injured, including its starting center, safety and running back. 

“We’re playing a different lineup every week,” said Hauck. “It’s hard to have any continuity.” 

Ahead of the rivalry game, it’s hard to know which UM players will suit up as Hauck doesn’t often share who will be playing for the Griz. In UM’s game against Northern Colorado, the official depth chart stated three different quarterbacks could start for the Griz. In a game against Sacramento State, Humphrey warmed up in full uniform but didn’t play at all. 

Perhaps the lowlight of UM’s season was when the Griz only beat Southern Utah by one point at home. Utah’s record is 1-7 on the year, and the fact that it nearly upset UM demeaned the Griz team and fans, who immediately went to the message boards, demanding answers for better performances. Some even called for Hauck to be fired. 

After the perplexing game against SUU, the Griz desperately needed momentum. A 35-0 win against Northern Colorado was exactly that. 

But now, UM has a more far-fetched goal: The ESPN show College Gameday. 

“I think it would be great for the University of Montana and great for Missoula,” Hauck said of the show. “That would be awesome.” 

It’s crazy to think a team that upset powerhouse Washington in the beginning of the season would be in this position today — barely beating teams it should crush and struggling with an injured line-up.

It’s even crazier to think we’d be vying for national attention two months later, but that’s where UM is right now. The University’s athletic department has been in touch with the show, so the idea definitely isn’t far-fetched.

The Brawl of the Wild may just come down to how much momentum the Griz can secure early in the game. If UM can’t get anything going early, the game could turn out like 2019’s 48-14 drubbing in Bozeman. 

“Their [Montana State] sole focus is to beat us,” Hauck said in the press conference after the last Brawl of the Wild. “Maybe we need to start doing that ourselves.” 

Hauck is right, Montana State loves nothing more to beat Montana. This year’s Brawl of the Wild will give a chance for Hauck and Montana to retaliate against its rivals at home — and potentially in front of a national audience.