Montana State 4th, Montana 6th in final FCS football rankings

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 13, 2020

BOZEMAN — The 2019 FCS football season came to an end this past weekend when No. 1-ranked North Dakota State held off second-ranked James Madison 28-20 for its eighth national championship in nine years. The final FCS STATS top 25 rankings were released Monday, and, naturally, the Bison and Dukes were ranked first and second, respectively.

But what seemed even more impressive was that the four Big Sky Conference teams featured in the final rankings were all ranked inside the top 10.

After falling to the eventual national champions in the semifinals, the Montana State Bobcats finished fourth to culminate one of the most successful seasons in recent years. The Bobcats advanced to the playoffs for the second consecutive season under coach Jeff Choate, reaching semifinal round for the first time since 1984. MSU finished the season with an 11-4 record, including a 6-2 mark in Big Sky play. The Bobcats won their final four regular-season games and then defeated Albany and Austin Peay in the playoffs before ending their season at NDSU.

The Montana Grizzlies, meanwhile, finished at No. 6 in the final rankings after losing to Big Sky foe Weber State in the FCS quarterfinals. The Grizzlies compiled a 10-4 overall record (6-2 conference). UM won four of its final five regular-season games -- the lone loss coming at Montana State in the regular-season finale -- to return to the playoffs in Bobby Hauck's second year back coaching the team. The Griz defeated Southeastern Louisiana in the second round of the playoffs.

Weber State finished one spot above the Bobcats at third after losing to national runner-up James Madison in the semifinals, and the Sacramento State Hornets, who were arguably the biggest surprise from the Big Sky Conference this year, finished the 2019 campaign ranked ninth in the nation.

The full STATS FCS Top 25 poll can be found below.

1North Dakota State (16-0)3825 (153)1
2James Madison (14-2)36722
3Weber State (11-4)34904
4Montana State (11-4)33665
5Northern Iowa (10-5)31016
6Montana (10-4)30067
7Illinois State (10-5)288613
8Austin Peay (11-4)259218
9Sacramento State (9-4)25903
10South Dakota State (8-5)231210
11Central Arkansas (9-4)21239
12Monmouth (11-3)203714
13Kennesaw State (11-3)198915
14Nicholls (9-5)170719
15Villanova (9-4)15808
16Wofford (8-4)134411
17Southeast Missouri State (9-4)128512
18Albany (9-5)124425
19Southeastern Louisiana (8-5)1170NR
20North Carolina A&T (9-3)78223
21Furman (8-5)77016
22Dartmouth (9-1)60721
23Central Connecticut State (11-2)60617
24Florida A&M (9-2)52720
25Yale (9-1)35322