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Montana's Jerry Louie-McGee stiff arms Northern Iowa's Elijah Campbell (18).

Beat a top-10 team, earn a top-10 ranking.

Following Montana's slugfest victory on the road over then-third-ranked Northern Iowa on Saturday, the Grizzlies shot up the STATS FCS national rankings seven sports to No. 7 overall when the latest poll was released Monday morning.

It's the highest the Grizzlies have been ranked since reaching No. 4 in the opening few weeks of the 2014 season.

Behind an unwavering defense and a break in special teams, the Griz defeated UNI, 20-14, on Saturday to move to 2-0 on the young football season. Northern Iowa, now 1-1, dropped seven poll spots as well to 10th.

The two at the top of the charts remained unchanged with NDSU (2-0) maintaining its grip on No. 1 after an overtime shootout with Eastern Washington in Fargo, North Dakota last week. Richmond (1-1) holds at No. 2 thanks to its shutout of Norfolk State.

New at No. 3 is Sam Houston State (1-0), which was idle this past week. Both the Bearcats and No. 4 Jacksonville State (1-1) climbed one spot in UNI's wake while Illinois State (2-0) jumped from No. 10 to No. 5 with a victory over FBS Northwestern.

Chattanooga (2-0) stayed at No. 6 on one side of the Grizzlies while fellow Big Sky Conference team EWU (1-1) remained at No. 8 on the other despite taking the top-ranked Bison to OT. The Eagles lost there, 50-44.

South Dakota State (1-1) and Northern Iowa rounded out the top 10.


Unlike Week 1's 41-31 win over Saint Francis, after which UM actually dropped one spot in the rankings, Montana's road triumph carried major weight in the voters' eyes.

The Griz drew 3,103 total voting points to help bypass all of last year's national rankings. UM got as high as eighth in 2015 thanks to its opening-day win over North Dakota State, but Montana also dropped as low as 22nd following its ugly loss at Portland State on Halloween.

The Griz ended the year at No. 14 and then started 2016 ranked 13th in the preseason poll before the slight step backward after their first game. That trend reversed with the win over a UNI team that drew five first-place votes after beating FBS Iowa State in Week 1.

Five teams overall had first-place picks last week, including one for Eastern Washington, but the second full week of action consolidated those votes to just the top two teams. The five-time defending national champion Bison garnered 151 of the 169 total firsts and 4,205 total points while Richmond drew the other 18 firsts and 4,046 points.

After seeing five of its 13 programs land in the top 25 in the first two weeks, the Big Sky placed four in the poll this Monday. Behind UM and EWU up near the top, Portland State (1-1) landed at No. 19 with Northern Arizona (0-2) checking in at No. 24. PSU fell three spots after losing to FBS San Jose State while the Lumberjacks dropped five places thanks to a loss to Western Illinois.

On the heels of that win, the Leathernecks climbed from No. 18 to 16th.

North Dakota fell out of the poll with its loss to FBS Bowling Green after being ranked 24th last week.

Montana State remains unranked, but the Bobcats were among six other Big Sky teams that drew at least a handful of votes yet fell outside the top 25. Those included Southern Utah, UND, MSU, Cal Poly, Weber State and Northern Colorado.

The Griz were also voted ninth in the FCS coaches' poll. NDSU and Richmond were again Nos. 1 and 2 there.

Five Big Sky teams made the top 25 by the coaches' votes. First was Eastern Washington at No. 7 then UM, followed by No. 17 Portland State, No. 21 Southern Utah and No. 24 Northern Arizona.

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