Subscribe for 17¢ / day
Texas State hopes to end league's skid against Griz
Montana quarterback Cole Bergquist finds some running room in the Montana State defense during the Grizzlies' 35-3 win last Saturday in Missoula.

The Montana Grizzlies and Texas State Bobcats will meet for the first time Saturday in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Texas State is coming off a 48-45, double-overtime victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday, which gave the Bobcats the Southland Conference title and an automatic bid to the postseason.

History, though, is not on the Bobcats' side. Since 1995, members of the Southland Conference are 0-7 in playoff games against Montana.

"This is another big step for our program," second-year Texas State coach Brad Wright told the San Antonio Express-News. "We know Montana is a very good team, but we are going to prepare to win the game."

Montana's postseason success is no secret. This will be the Grizzlies' 16th consecutive trip to the FCS tournament, a Division I record.

But Texas State has had recent playoff fortune, as well.

The Bobcats won the Southland Conference in 2005 and advanced to the FCS semifinals before losing 40-37 to Northern Iowa.

The Bobcats beat Cal Poly 14-7 in the quarterfinals that year, a week after the Mustangs upset Montana in the first round.

Texas State won back-to-back Division II national championships in 1981 and 1982. The Bobcats are 8-2 all-time in postseason games.

Of the 16-team playoff field, which was announced Sunday, the Grizzlies have the most all-time playoff wins. UM has won 24 times in the FCS postseason since its creation in 1978.

Appalachian State has won 22 playoff games in that time, while Eastern Kentucky has won 17.

Texas State is 4-2 in its FCS playoff history.

Big Sky in the playoffs

With Montana and Weber State in the playoff fray - Weber State travels to Cal Poly for a first-round game on Saturday - there is plenty of noteworthy information involving the teams and the Big Sky Conference.

Check out these quick hits, courtesy of Big Sky Conference sports information director Jon Kasper:

• In 112 playoff games, the Big Sky has compiled a 60-52 record.

•Weber State is the fifth Big Sky team to make the playoffs this decade. Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State and Northern Arizona are the others.

• Big Sky teams have won five national titles: Boise State won it all in 1980, followed by Idaho State in 1981, Montana State in 1984 and Montana in 1995 and 2001.

• Big Sky teams have lost in the national championship game five times. Nevada was the runner-up in 1990. Boise State finished second in 1994. Montana was the runner-up in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Around the FCS

The remaining first-round matchups this season include James Madison vs. Wofford, Villanova vs. Colgate, Northern Iowa vs. Maine, New Hampshire vs. Southern Illinois, Appalachian State vs. South Carolina State and Richmond vs. Eastern Kentucky.

Here are some first-round tidbits we found:

• James Madison is looking for its first playoff victory since beating Montana 31-21 for the 2004 national championship.

• Three teams in this year's field have multiple national titles: Appalachian State has won the past three, while Montana and Eastern Kentucky each have two.

• South Carolina State is making its first trip to the playoffs since earning back-to-back appearances in 1981 and 1982.

• Maine last played Northern Iowa in the 2001 playoffs, losing 56-28 in the second round.

Poll position

James Madison held on to the No. 1 spot in the final FCS Top 25 poll of the regular season, which was released by The Sports Network on Monday.

The Grizzlies held on to the No. 5 spot after dismantling Montana State 35-3 on Saturday. Weber State, following its 33-26 loss against Eastern Washington, dropped to No. 12.

The Top 5 remained intact, with Appalachian State, Cal Poly and Northern Iowa coming in at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 again, respectively.

Liberty, at No. 14, is the highest-ranked team to not be included in the playoff field. The Flames, of the Big South Conference, finished 10-2 but missed an at-large bid.

At No. 23, Texas State is the lowest-ranked team to qualify.

Around the league

Idaho State ended its 15-game losing streak on Saturday with a 36-33 overtime victory over Sacramento State. The streak was the second-longest in Division I football. Indiana State lost in overtime Saturday to extend its skid to 26 games. … Montana State's Demetrius Crawford and Sacramento State's Bryan Hilliard each rushed for more than 200 yards Saturday. They were the first two backs in the Big Sky to reach the 200-yard plateau. … With 171 yards against Eastern Washington, Weber State junior running back Trevyn Smith moved into seventh place on the league's all-time rushing list, with 1,344 yards.

The Gazette's Phil Sites contributed to this story.