After key contributions in a win over rival Montana State, Montana's Justin Ford and Patrick O'Connell are among the 25 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive player in the FCS.
Ford, a cornerback, has eight interceptions on the season, which is the most in all of Division I football, including the FBS. Ford delivered a critical 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Saturday's win over Montana State.
O'Connell, a linebacker, leads the Big Sky Conference with 13 total sacks, 11 of which are solo.
The Buck Buchanan Award winner will be announced on Jan. 7, the day before the FCS National Championship in Frisco, Texas.