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Griz: UND's Twin Bros?

Dober you’re not trying to compare the Chicken Hawks to the FCS blue blood Griz are you? Not as a program, but for this year’s Performa Resume, they are very close.

Let me prepare you for the mainline ESPN pregame analysis. They are going to run stats up on the screen that they will say shows Montana and the Herd are really neck and neck.

Let’s start on defense. Montana gives up only 323.5 YPG (17th in FCS, I am going to put National rank in parentheses). They yield 129.5 YPG rushing (34th), 194 YPG passing (25th) and 19 PPG (8th). That seems like a very stout D.

Code Green yields 292.1 YPG in total defense (5th), 144.8 YPG rushing (49th), 147.3 YPG passing (3rd) and 17.4 PPG (5th). Montana’s average for these four stats is 21st. Code Greens is 15.5. So this is a very solid D against another very solid D.

How do they match up on offense? The Ram lead Bison attack pounds the rock to the tune of 261.7 YPG (4th), they score at a rate of 34.8 PPG (18th), passing is 137.2 YPG (115th) and total offense is 398.9 YPG (40th).

The Griz score more than the Herd at 37 PPG (9th), 399.8 YPG in total offense (39th), racking up 171.4 YPG rushing (39th) and passing for 228.4 YPG (49th).

I know you’re thinking, Ron these stats are close, so doesn’t that make this a close game?

I am going to quote one of ESPN’s Game Day co-hosts, Lee Corso: “NOT SO FAST!” It also ties into one of my pet peeves on pre-game analysis I listen to. All stats aren’t equal. I don’t care if you score 200 points against an inferior team; I want to know how you play against playoff worthy FCS opponents. This is where the train comes off the track for Montana and they start looking a lot like UND.

Montana truly is a tale of two teams this year. Versus bad teams, Northwestern State (4-7 222 Sag), USD (3-8 162 Sag), Ind. State (2-9 190 Sag), Portland State (4-7 193 Sag), Idaho St. (1-10 221 Sag), Cal-Poly (2-9 213 Sag) and E Washington (3-8 179 Sag). These teams combined to go 19-58 (a .247 winning %). These teams had the 122nd, 121st, 114th, 108th, 106th and 94th ranked scoring defenses (out of 123 FCS teams). They also had the 118th, 113th, 111th and 87th ranked scoring offenses. Is it any wonder that the Griz outscored these seven opponents 45.9 to 9.1 PPG? These stats are all fluff in the above overall stats.

Coming into facing the Bison, Montana is 1-4 against the good teams on their schedule (Idaho, Sacramento State, Weber, Montana State and SEMO). They were winless in these contests until they beat SEMO last week. Here the stats show a different picture.

UND coming into playing the Herd was 3-3 versus good teams on their schedule, but they had -4.5 point spread. These teams scored 35 points per game and averaged over 415 yards in total offense. It caught up to UND. The Herd put up 42 points, 522 total yards and 363 yards rushing. Weber pounded the Hawks for 38 points, 440 total yards with 350 coming on the ground.

Against Montana’s five good foes they have -8.2 point spread (outscored 24.6 to 32.8), they have yielded 429.6 total yards with 201 coming by opponents run game. Unlike the Hawks, their offense hasn’t shined in these games putting up only 285 YPG with only 91.2 coming via the rush.

Against Idaho, Weber, Montana State and SEMO they only averaged 64 YPG. In these five games their RB’s generated only 315 yards on 102 attempts. Thirty-five of these carries and 92 yards left thru the portal when their top back entering this season, Marcus Knight, hit the portal a week ago. Nick Ostmo, their top rusher only has 49 carries and 138 yards in these five games (27.6 YPG and 2.8 YPC). That won’t bring a Griz victory come Saturday.

Neither are their QB’s big dual threats. Throwing out scrum yardage by their future QB, Daniel Britt (9 carries for 64 yards in 4th quarter versus Bobcats), Griz QB’s only generated 14.8 YPG at 2.8 YPC. Bison fan, Code Green is going to make these guys one dimensional!

Another mirror image with UND is they give up more third downs than they convert in their tough games 39% to 45.5%. By the way, the Herd is 2nd in country at converting 3rd downs at 54%.

Don’t be hood winked by so called experts with bad statistical analysis. In the Big Ones, Montana has played like the Hawks, who ended the season 3-5 against good teams. I feel the Griz will end 1-5. Like my summary for the UND game, if NDSU doesn’t score more than 30 and make the Griz one dimensional, they didn’t play up to their ability. Go Bison!

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