UW's senior tight end and Montana senior safety Mick Delaney were teammates at Bozeman High.
The text messages back and forth this week have been cordial. And why wouldn’t they be between two close friends?
But at some point during Saturday’s game at Husky Stadium, there is a decent chance Washington senior tight end Will Dissly and Montana senior safety Mick Delaney will find themselves going head to head.
“It’ll be fun to play against him,” Dissly said this week. “He’s actually one of my best friends. We grew up together in Bozeman. It’s been exciting watching him on tape and seeing one of my guys doing big things at the college level. I wish him the best of luck, and it’s going to be fun competing against him on Saturday.”
Dissly and Delaney were teammates at Bozeman High School, helping the team advance to the Montana state championship game in 2013. (A year later, after Delaney graduated, Dissly led Bozeman to a 14-0 season and a state championship. He is the only Montanan on the UW roster.)
Most Read Sports Stories
- Commentary: Even if Nick Rolovich’s lawsuit is successful, WSU comes out ahead. The saga is over
- After $1.15 billion renovation, Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena 'will surprise people in the greatest way'
- UW Huskies go from rock bottom to rare road win with 21-16 comeback victory over Arizona
- The Huskies avoided utter embarrassment by salvaging win over Arizona. But long-term issues remain.
- Analysis: Nick Rolovich’s firing by WSU has consequences, and not just for him
Delaney shares a name with his grandfather Mick Delaney, who was the University of Montana head coach from 2012-14.
Dissly, meanwhile, grew up as a fan of Montana State, located in Bozeman, and the Grizzlies’ big rival. Dissly’s older brother, Nick, played basketball at Montana State, though is father did graduate from Montana.
“It’s kind of a split household, but my dad is super supportive of all of us,” Dissly said. “I have a bunch of family coming to the game. They’re going to take the train out here, and it’ll be good to see all them.”
UW will pay Montana $625,000 to play Saturday’s game, which is about the average payout for an FCS-level team to play an FBS team.
Last year, the Huskies paid Portland State $525,000 to play at Husky Stadium.
Per NCAA rules, major-college programs are allowed to play one game each year against a lower-level opponent. Notre Dame, USC and UCLA are the only major programs that have never played an FCS team. Some local fans have voiced displeasure that UW schedules games a lower-level team.
“I have no opinion on that,” UW coach Chris Petersen said Thursday. “That is completely out of my jurisdiction, so we’ll play whoever it is. I go back to supporting your team. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. These guys will give us a great game. They have good players and excellent coaches. And so this is all about us, and this is another opportunity for us to go and compete. What a better way to spend Saturday on Montlake here?”
The Huskies earlier this week reported sales of about 64,000 tickets for Saturday’s home opener. Husky Stadium has a seating capacity of 70,138.