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Montana defensive end Derek Crittenden fights off a block to get to Cal Poly quarterback Chris Brown for a safety.

KURT WILSON, Missoulian

On the back of its season-opening win over North Dakota State two weeks ago, the Montana Grizzlies football team jumped to No. 8 when the STATS FCS media and FCS coaches' polls were released Monday morning.

Montana defeated preseason No. 1 North Dakota State, the four-time defending national champion, back on Aug. 29 in the ESPN FCS Kickoff. Despite a hangover loss to Cal Poly this past Saturday, the Grizzlies' opening showing was enough to boost them into the top 10.

The Griz ranked 13th in the media poll and 12th in the coaches' poll in the preseason.

The Griz (1-1) garnered two first-place selections out of the 143 voters in the media poll to pile up 2,401 total points. In each poll, a first-place nod is worth 25 points while second gets 24, third gets 23 and so on throughout the top 25.

Sam Houston State and Coastal Carolina took over the top spots in the respective polls from the Bison.

Sam Houston (0-1) fell to FBS Texas Tech in a 59-45 game this past weekend, jumping from No. 3 to the top in the media poll with 31 first-place votes and 3,132 total points. Coastal (1-0), which got by Furman in a close 38-35 game Saturday, drew four first-place votes and 517 total points to go from fifth to first as voted by the coaches.

North Dakota State remained second in both polls despite its 38-35 loss to the Grizzlies two weeks ago. The Bison were still voted first on 22 media and six coaches' ballots after an idle week this past weekend.

Coastal Carolina, Illinois State (0-1) and Jacksonville State (1-0) round out the top five according to the media, a poll that seemed to favor Big Sky Conference teams. Besides No. 8 Montana, five other Big Sky teams were listed among the top 25 with a handful of others receiving votes.

Eastern Washington dropped one spot to seventh after its 61-42 loss to FBS Oregon; Montana State remained at No. 11 after pounding Division II Fort Lewis 45-14; Cal Poly, unranked in the preseason, is now No. 18 after upsetting the Grizzlies 20-19 on Saturday; Idaho State dropped one spot to No. 23 after its 55-0 shellacking of Division II Black Hills State; and Portland State broke into the rankings at No. 24 by upsetting FBS Washington State.

Northern Arizona is the first team on the outside of the top 25 while North Dakota, Sacramento State and Southern Utah all drew votes as well.


The Grizzlies garnered three first-place votes in the coaches' poll as well, showing the respect UM picked up by knocking off the Bison. Montana totaled 393 points to jump four places from the school's preseason ranking.

North Dakota State's six votes for first were tied for most among any team in the country in that poll. Fellow Missouri Valley Conference team Illinois State also drew six first-place votes. The Redbirds are fifth this week, down from No. 2 back in early August.

The Bison are tied for second with Villanova, the No. 6 team as voted by the media, at 490 points. Sam Houston is fourth as tabbed by the coaches.

Other Big Sky teams landing in the top 25 coaches' poll included No. 7 Eastern Washington, No. 9 Montana State, No. 20 Cal Poly and No. 24 Idaho State. Northern Arizona and Portland State are the first two teams outside the top 25 this week and North Dakota also drew votes in the poll.

Both polls will be unveiled weekly on Mondays throughout the season as well as the Sunday following the last week of the regular season.

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