BOZEMAN — Emotions after heartbreak differ from person to person.
Some feel anger, whereas others are filled with complete devastation.
For the second consecutive season, the Montana Grizzlies walked away from the Brawl of the Wild without the Great Divide Trophy. In its place came tears, unfinished business and a somber bus ride home.
"Definitely a difficult loss," Montana coach Bob Stitt said after falling to Montana State 31-23 in the Big Sky Conference finale for both teams. "Proud of our guys of how they hung in there."
With nine seconds to go on fourth-and-10 at the Montana State 28-yard line, close to 20,000 Bobcat fans hollered alongside the opening stanza of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," which blared on repeat.
Gresch Jensen clapped his hands and Keenan Curran ran a route to the right side of the field. Jensen threw a bullet Curran's way, but Montana State's Tyrel Thomas beelined in to break up the pass — as well as Montana's hopes of pulling off a comeback.
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"Last year I had a bad taste in my mouth and this year it's even worse," Curran said. "It doesn't get any better."
Stitt added: "We battled to the end. Definitely thought we would get the darn thing in the end zone."
The revenge the Grizzlies wanted for last season's loss went unrequited. The heartache last year's seniors felt repeated full force with 2017's crop of upperclassmen.
Tucker Schye's misty eyes held back tears. His heartbreak was visible, but he held in descriptors of the pain to himself.
"I'm not gonna share that with you guys, no offense," Schye said in the postgame media conference. "But if you haven't been through this, you can't understand what it's like."
The Grizzlies were never completely out of the game, but little things added up.
Montana began to gain some momentum in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies pieced together a 13-play, 62-yard drive capped by Brandon Purdy's third field goal to cut the deficit to 24-16 with 10:44 to go. Montana State responded with a touchdown to make it 31-16 at 6:20.
The Griz fired right back 55 seconds later with a touchdown of their own — a 32-yard dime from Jensen to Curran. The Grizzly defense forced a three-and-out and Montana had the chance to tie with three minutes left on the clock.
On first-and-10 from the Montana 18-yard line, Jensen hit Jerry Louie-McGee for a 12-yard pick up. But on that play, someone — or something — hit Jensen square in the right elbow.
"(He) couldn't feel his hand," Stitt said. "(He) got hit on a nerve."
Jensen stayed in for the next play. As he went to throw the ball down the right side of the field, it slipped out of his hand. Montana State's Mac Bignell recovered near the Bobcat sideline at the Montana 38-yard line.
Montana's defense again forced a three-and-out, giving the Griz offense hope they could rally with still 2:08 showing.
"I thought we put ourselves in a good position to do what we needed to do, get in the end zone," Curran said of UM's last drive. "Just speaks to Gresch, came in after he hurt his elbow, was still getting it done and then the last play. It goes kinda fast; wish I would have came back more for it or, I don't know, something. It is what it is."
Jensen completed 30 of 49 passes for 328 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He added five carries and 35 yards rushing.
Montana's other scores came from Brandon Purdy — who nailed three field goals — and Jeremy Calhoun, who danced into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Curran inched over the century mark with 109 yards receiving.
Even though Curran hit triple digits, he wasn't happy with his performance — especially with how he played in the first half.
"Couldn't have been a worse first half for me," Curran said. "I dropped a third-down conversion. I dropped another one that could have put us in better position when we were punting. Gave the defense better field.
"Those are things I need to work on going forward. I can't come out and have a sloppy first half and then turn it on the second half. It's gotta be full go the whole game."
After the loss, Montana moves to 7-4 with a 5-3 record in the Big Sky. The Grizzlies' playoff hopes aren't completely out of the question, but it's a long shot considering how many other teams are in the conference with similar or better records.
"I think we're a good football team. I think we're a playoff football team," Stitt said. "I think this game, you throw the records out because it doesn't matter what the records are and who you're playing because it's even. It's even all the way when you play this Brawl and I think we're one of the top teams in the country.
"... Every week it's difficult to win ball games, to win seven games in a season and playing in the Big Sky, it's tough every week. 7-4 can get you in. It should get us in."
Montana and UM fans will find out the Grizzlies' postseason fate Sunday. The FCS playoff selection show begins at 9 a.m. MT on ESPNU.
Amie Just covers Griz football for the Missoulian, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.