Montana is a top-10 team once again.
Following the Grizzlies' 43-20 blowout of defending Big Sky Conference champion Southern Utah on Saturday, Montana climbed one spot to No. 10 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll that was released Monday morning.
It's the Grizzlies' second foray into the top 10. Three weeks ago UM rocketed up to No. 7 and then No. 6 after a road upset of Northern Iowa, a season-best placing. The Griz then dropped to No. 11 after losing at Cal Poly.
Despite a dominant win over the Thunderbirds, one that featured an unprecedented 627 yards of offense for the Bob Stitt era, the Griz (3-1) barely budged in the national rankings. That's because only one team among the top 12 -- former eighth-ranked Western Illinois -- lost Saturday.
Correspondingly, the top seven are unchanged this week with North Dakota State (4-0) still leading the pack. The Bison scored a top-25 win over Illinois State this week to maintain their hold as the unanimous No. 1. NDSU drew all 164 first-place votes in this week's poll.
Sam Houston State (4-0) and Jacksonville State (3-1) follow at Nos. 2 and 3 before the first Big Sky squad, Eastern Washington (4-1), checks in at No. 4. Chattanooga (5-0), Richmond (4-1), James Madison (4-1), Charleston Southern (3-2) and The Citadel (4-0) precede Montana in filling out the rest of the top 10.
A trio of Missouri Valley Football Conference programs follow the Griz in order with Northern Iowa (2-2), South Dakota State (2-2) and Western Illinois (3-1). Though just one MVFC school is in the top 10, that being the Bison at the very top, the conference leads all leagues with six top-25 selections.
The Big Sky has four this week after North Dakota (3-2) joins the fray. The Fighting Hawks topped Cal Poly to return to the rankings at No. 24. The Mustangs (3-2), who were No. 16 last week after their upset of the Griz, fell to No. 21.
North Dakota began the year ranked 19th in the preseason STATS poll.
Outside the top 25 but still gaining a few votes are other Big Sky schools Southern Utah (2-2), Northern Arizona (1-4), Portland State (2-3) and Northern Colorado (3-1). SUU was ranked 24th in last week's FCS coaches' poll and is the leading vote-getter among Big Sky outsiders this week, though none are close to the final 25th poll spot.
For the first time this season after its loss to previously winless Sacramento State on Saturday, Montana State did not draw a single vote.