Grizzlies open season at home

Star Staff

It’s time for redemption for the University of Montana football team.

After a disappointing 6-5 record in 2016, the Grizzlies are hoping for better things, starting Saturday at home against the Valparaiso Crusaders.

“We’ve put so much work in since the last game of last year, and we’ve come so far as a football team both physically and mentally, but probably more mentally,” Montana coach Bob Stitt said in a news release.

“It’s time to get ‘em out on the field and see them do their thing.”

The opponent from Indiana, better known as Valpo, is a member of the Pioneer Football League.

Stitt, starting his third season as the head coach, has a team picked to finish sixth in the 10-member Big Sky Conference. He will have 17 returning starters — nines on defense and eight on offense — who are intent on getting back to the FCS playoffs after missing for just the third time in 24 seasons.

Valpo, better known for its basketball program, was picked to finish 10th in the preseason Pioneer League poll despite having 16 returning starters.

This is the first-ever meeting between the Griz and Crusaders. Montana hasn’t lost a home opener since 2003 when they were beaten by North Dakota State.

Kickoff at Washington-Grizzly Stadium is set for 1 p.m. 

The game will be televised on SWX Montana in the Billings/Miles City market.