KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Montana Tech Orediggers have landed at No. 16 in the Top 25 Preseason poll released by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Montana Tech finished the 2022 campaign at 7-3 overall, and No.24 in the Final NAIA Top 25 poll of 2022.
The Frontier Conference place three institutions in the top 25 and a fourth is receiving votes. The College of Idaho is the top school ranked No. 12 in the preseason rankings followed Carroll College at No. 15 and Montana Western is receiving votes.
The Orediggers led the Frontier Conference with 13 all-conference selections in 2022, which included a league leading eight on the first team.
First team all-conference running back Blake Counts returns for his senior season after rushing for 803 yards, and six touchdowns a year ago. Blake was nominated second team all-conference in both his freshman and sophomore season.
First team all-conference punter Andrew Almos and first team all-conference kicker Ryan Lowry both return after fantastic seasons a year ago. Almos had 32 punts on the season averaging 42.3 a punt a 21 of his punts were inside the 20-yard line with 7 touchbacks.
Lowry was 11 of 16 on field goals with a long of 42. He completed 44 of 45 on extra points. Lowry led the Frontier Conference in scoring with 77 total points. He was 12th in the nation in points by a kicker.
The 2022 second team all-conference offensive lineman Carson Shuman returns for the Orediggers. Carson was one piece of an outstanding offensive front. Montana Tech’s O-line led an offense that produced 1,663 rushing yards and a league leading 24 touchdowns on the ground. They also gave up the fewest sacks in the conference last year.
Defensively, Montana Tech was in the top-25 in the nation giving up 273 yards per game. They led the conference and were ranked sixth in the nation in pass defense giving up only 138.7 yards through the air.
Montana Tech returns a total of eight starters from a year ago on offense and five on defense.
The No.16 ranked Orediggers will start the season at home on Thursday August 31st at 6 p.m. for the annual Copper Game presented by Rocky Mountain Credit Union. Montana Tech hosts the No.15 Saints of Carroll College.