Bashore’s Beat: Montana aftermath
By Cody Bashore
With the victory in Missoula against the No. 21 Montana Grizzlies still fresh in many minds, the No. 22 Lumberjacks have turned their attention to this Saturday’s Big Sky Conference home opener.
The win produced more than just a national ranking and an end to a 14-game losing streak to Montana, it also proved that senior quarterback Cary Grossart has returned to form after a two game absence.
“Physically, I feel really good. I can get in there and get hit a couple times and still feel good,” Grossart said. “Obviously, mentally getting a feel for it, especially in that environment, is really great for the rest of the season.”
Grossart said he took a hard hit early in the game after a pass to junior wide receiver Ify Umodu, but got up feeling fine.
“When you get hit, you just get [more] into the game,” Grossart said.
As for the win itself, the senior said it’s the kind of game you remember for the rest of your life. However, Grossart questions the team’s ranking behind Montana despite the win.
“I’ve been struggling all week to find words to describe it, but it’s amazing for our program and the direction we want to go,” Grossart said. “It’s great to be recognized by the conference and the FCS. At 22, obviously we’re still behind Montana, so that doesn’t make any sense. It’s great though, to be in the top 25, and we belong there.”
With the Portland State Vikings team headed into Flagstaff on a three-game losing streak and possibly getting desperate, the team will not let their newfound notoriety prevent them from taking care of business.
“Any time an opponent comes in that may be frustrated or things haven’t gone their way, they’re going to take chances to win,” said head coach Jerome Souers. “They’re going to do anything; we expect to see two or three gadget plays . . . we need to be playing the most disciplined, sound game of the year.”
The Vikings beat the Lumberjacks 31–29 in Portland last year, snapping a four-game losing streak onto NAU. In their past trip to Flagstaff in 2010, however, they were blown out 62–14. Prior to the Montana victory, this was the last time the Lumberjacks had scored more than 40 points in a conference game.
After dropping their Big Sky opener to Southern Utah last week, Portland State remains on the hunt for their first win against an NCAA school this season. The Vikings’s only win came against the Carroll College Fighting Saints, runner-ups in the NAIA national championship game, where they scored 38–20 in their season opener.
“We’re business as usual; we need to remain focused. We are a team that has gotten better every week . . . and when you get better every week, you’re going to be a really good football team by the end of the year,” Souers said. “As long as you maintain that work ethic and that attitude, you’re less likely to fall prey to complacency.”