If the Montana Grizzlies are to beat the four-time defending national champions, they'll have to do so without their starting outside linebacker.
Herbert Gamboa, a senior on the Montana football team, has been suspended for the Grizzlies' season opener against North Dakota State on Aug. 29.
Gamboa will sit out Montana's highly anticipated and nationally televised game for violating team and athletic department rules following his arrest late last week in Missoula.
"We're working through things. I don't want to comment on it right now, but we're going to take care of it," first-year Montana head football coach Bob Stitt said Tuesday at the Grizzlies' first fall practice, hours before the athletic department announced Gamboa's one-game suspension.
Neither Stitt nor UM athletic director Kent Haslam could be reached for comment following the announcement.
Gamboa, 21, was arrested early Friday morning after witnesses saw him challenging other people to fight outside a Maurice Avenue house party at about 12:30 a.m.
He pleaded guilty Monday in Missoula Municipal Court to one disorderly conduct charge, a misdemeanor, and received a six-month deferred sentence.
Municipal Court Judge Sam Warren ordered Gamboa to pay a fine of $50 and a surcharge of $110. The misdemeanor will be cleared from his record if he follows all court-ordered conditions.
Gamboa, who did not practice with his teammates Tuesday, was an honorable mention all-Big Sky Conference selection last season. He started 13 games and made 107 tackles, third most among returning players.
The disciplinary move and game suspension is the first under Coach Stitt, who was hired in December. When asked earlier this summer about his history as a disciplinarian, the coach spoke of high academic standards and accountability.
"There is no gray area," he said during a July interview.
Gamboa and his fellow returning starting linebackers, Kendrick Van Ackeren and Jeremiah Kose, were expected to be a strong point in the Griz defense against a vaunted NDSU team that has gone 58-3 in the past four seasons. Both Gamboa and Kose had scrapes with the law last week, though.
Kose, 22, was arrested last Wednesday on a failure to appear charge regarding three moving violations from last November. Kose participated in Tuesday's practice and is expected to play against the Bison later this month.
Montana's opener against North Dakota State will air on ESPN as part of ESPN's second-annual FCS Kickoff.