Montclair, NJ (8/7/11) – The Montclair State football, coming off back-to-back New Jersey Athletic Conference championships and NCAA Division III Playoff appearances, was selected at No. 12 in the 2011 D3Football.com Preseason Poll released.
The Red Hawks, who finished 10-2 for the second straight season in 2010, received 270 points, edging out conference rival Cortland (13th, 267 points) for the position. Last year, Montclair shared the league crown with the Red Dragons and Rowan, who was picked No. 22 in the poll giving the conference three teams in the Top 25.
The No. 12 spot in the second-highest ranking for Montclair since the organization began conducting weekly polls in the 2003 campaign. MSU opened the 2004 year at No. 10 after it reached the second round of the NCAA Playoffs in 2003. The Red Hawks were 10th for three weeks before suffering their first loss of the season and were ranked three more times before falling out of the poll during Week 6.
Montclair did not appear in the poll again until 2007 when it made it into the No. 24 spot in Week 3. After defeating Wesley the following week, Montclair climbed to 16th and eventually to No. 15 before a loss to Cortland dropped MSU from the poll for the remainder of the season.
The next season, MSU appeared in the poll three times late in the season, getting to No. 18 heading into the final week of games. In 2009, Montclair was chosen at No. 21 in the preseason and was 18th in the Week 1 poll before suffering a season-opening loss to Wilkes. Despite winning its next eight games, Montclair could not crack the poll until the final week of the regular season when it appeared at No. 24 following its NJAC Championship win over Kean. Montclair ended up No. 22 in the final poll for 2009.
Last year, the Red Hawks opened the year at No. 25 and actually moved up two spots without having played a game. MSU would be ranked each week and moved up steadily thanks in part to its 7-0 start reaching No. 14. Montclair lost to Cortland 10-9 and actually fell out of the poll before remerging the next week at No. 23. MSU ended the regular season at No. 21 and finished year two spots higher at No. 19.
The Red Hawks open their 2011 slate on Saturday, September 10 when they host Salve Regina at Sprague Field beginning at 12:00 pm.