FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 3

Missouri Valley off to a great start with seven ranked teams

FCS Power Poll RankingsTheir teams were often playing each other already, but the Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series was created this year as a formal way to promote the matchups between the two strong FCS conferences.


The Athlon FCS Power Poll has a challenge, too: How do you keep Missouri Valley teams out of the rankings?


It’s nearly impossible, of course. The MVFC, which jumped to a 4-1 series lead on the Big Sky this past weekend, has been that dominant with seven of the conference’s 10 teams appearing in the Power Poll.


Here is the Athlon Sports FCS Power Poll heading into Week 3 of the regular season:


1. James Madison

(2-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 52-10 win over East Tennessee State

Of Note: A week after revving up the running game, Dukes quarterback Bryan Schor picked apart the ETSU secondary for 304 yards and five touchdowns.

Next Opponent: Norfolk State (Sept. 16)


2. North Dakota State

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 40-13 win over then-No. 7 Eastern Washington

Of Note: The Bison, basically 1A not 2 in the Power Poll, grounded out 375 rushing yards against Eastern Washington, holding the ball for 42 minutes and 40 seconds. Safety Robbie Grimsley had a pair of interceptions to fuel the defense.

Next Opponent: Robert Morris (Sept. 23)


3. South Dakota State

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 31-21 win over Montana State

Of Note: A week after Jackrabbits wide receiver Jake Wieneke stood out, NFL-bound tight end Dallas Goedert broke free for 11 receptions for 132 yards against Montana State. Placekicker Chase Vinatieri's fourth-quarter touchdown on a fake field goal was pulsating.

Next Opponent: Drake (Sept. 16)


4. Sam Houston State

(2-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 44-31 win over Prairie View A&M

Of Note: Unlike fellow wide receivers Yedidiah Louis and Nathan Stewart, Davion Davis just missed 1,000 receiving yards last season. He’s well on his way this season with a team-high 235 yards through two games.

Next Opponent: Nicholls (Sept. 23)


5. Jacksonville State

(1-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 37-10 loss to Georgia Tech

Of Note: Having played a “Week Zero” game, the Gamecocks are opening the season with a bye after each of their first two games. In the regular season, fourth-year head coach John Grass is 0-4 against the FBS and 31-0 in all other games.

Next Opponent: No. 12 Liberty (Sept. 23)


6. Richmond

(1-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 20-17 win over then-No. 25 Colgate

Of Note: First-year head coach Russ Huesman escaped with his first win as quarterback Kyle Lauletta passed for 306 yards and Griffin Trau kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter.

Next Opponent: Howard (Sept. 16)


7. Youngstown State

(1-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 30-0 win over Robert Morris

Of Note: In relief of an injured Hunter Wells, quarterback Nathan Mays completed 13 of 17 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed for a score. The Penguins limited Robert Morris to 149 yards.

Next Opponent: Central Connecticut State (Sept. 16)


8. Villanova

(1-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 16-13 loss to Temple

Of Note: A field goal with one minute remaining kept the Wildcats winless against the FBS since beating Temple in their 2009 national championship season.

Next Opponent: Lafayette (Sept. 16)


9. New Hampshire

(2-0, 1-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 22-12 win over Georgia Southern

Of Note: In a game moved to Birmingham, Ala., because of Hurricane Irma, the Wildcats posted their first win over an FBS opponent since 2009 (Ball State). They built a 22-0 halftime lead behind Trevor Knight’s two touchdown passes to Neil O’Connor.

Next Opponent: at Holy Cross (Sept. 16)


10. Wofford

(2-0, 2-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 28-27 win over Mercer

Of Note: Back-to-back one-point Southern Conference wins are a little too close for comfort, but the Terriers have the early jump in the competitive race. They don’t return to conference play until facing Western Carolina on Oct. 7.

Next Opponent: Gardner-Webb (Sept. 23)


11. North Dakota

(1-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 34-0 win over Missouri State

Of Note: Now that’s more like it: The Fighting Hawks gained terrific offensive balance with Keaton Studsrud’s 273 passing yards and a 253-yard ground assault (Brady Oliveira 164 yards).

Next Opponent: at No. 14 South Dakota (Sept. 16)


12. Liberty


Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 58-17 win over Morehead State

Of Note: Wide receiver B.J. Farrow caught three of Stephen Calvert’s five touchdown passes. Alex Probert is 7-for-7 on field goals through two games.

Next Opponent: Indiana State (Sept. 16)


13. Western Illinois

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 38-20 win over Northern Arizona

Of Note: The Leathernecks controlled the road win at Northern Arizona by possessing the football for 39 minutes. It’s actually a bigger margin of victory than last year’s 34-20 triumph.

Next Opponent: at Coastal Carolina (Sept. 23)


14. South Dakota

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 35-27 win over Bowling Green

Of Note: Glad you saw the Coyotes in the Power Poll last week because others have caught on after Chris Streveler (425 total yards, four touchdowns) powered the FBS win over Bowling Green.

Next Opponent: No. 11 North Dakota (Sept. 16)


15. Eastern Washington

(0-2, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 40-13 loss to No. 2 North Dakota State

Of Note: What the offense will be in the post-Cooper Kupp era is undetermined. With head coach Aaron Best seeking a more balanced attack, quarterback Gage Gubrud has thrown for only 341 yards after setting the FCS single-season record with 5,160 as a sophomore.

Next Opponent: at Fordham (Sept. 16)


16. Illinois State

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: Each of the last two games against Eastern Illinois has been decided by three points. In last year’s 24-21 Redbirds’ loss, they managed only 59 rushing yards on 36 carries.

Next Opponent: at Eastern Illinois (Sept. 16)


17. Central Arkansas

(1-1, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 41-13 win over Murray State

Of Note: The Bears' defense is back to having bad intentions, posting four sacks and forcing a pair of turnovers in the easy win at Murray State. Eric Jackson collected two of the sacks.

Next Opponent: Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 16)


18. The Citadel

(2-0, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 48-7 win over Presbyterian

Of Note: Switched to the road because of Hurricane Irma, the Bulldogs had a tag-team at quarterback: Dominique Allen ran for three touchdowns and Jordan Black passed for three more on his only attempts.

Next Opponent: at East Tennessee State (Sept. 16)


19. Northern Iowa

(1-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 45-38 OT win over Cal Poly

Of Note: Daurice Fountain’s OT touchdown catch – his third of the game – was the difference against Cal Poly. The Panthers stay in the Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series with a matchup against an experienced Southern Utah squad.

Next Opponent: at Southern Utah (Sept. 16)


20. Chattanooga

(0-2, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 45-10 loss to LSU

Of Note: The non-conference schedule stays tough with UT Martin, but at least first-year head coach Tom Arth have a shot for his first win at Finley Stadium. Presbyterian grad transfer Darrell Bridges (15 carries, 88 yards, touchdown) was solid in the LSU loss.

Next Opponent: UT Martin (Sept. 16)


21. Samford

(2-0, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 49-41 win over West Alabama

Of Note: It’s time to get cornerback Darius Harvey on offense, too. He scored on a 23-yard interception return and a 93-yard kickoff return in the win over West Alabama.

Next Opponent: at Georgia (Sept. 16)


22. Tennessee State

(2-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 17-15 win over Jackson State

Of Note: TSU earned a bigger guarantee in the Southern Heritage Classic ($350,000) than it did in beating Georgia State ($325,000).

Next Opponent: Florida A&M (Sept. 16)


23. Colgate

(1-1, 0-0 Patriot)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 20-17 loss to No. 6 Richmond

Of Note: A No. 25 team that loses usually falls from the Power Poll, but the Raiders deserve credit for a challenging non-conference schedule. Freshman quarterback Grant Breneman had 166 total yards and a touchdown pass off the bench in the tight loss to Richmond.

Next Opponent: at Buffalo (Sept. 16)


24. Charleston Southern

(0-1, 0-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: Postponement

Of Note: With Charleston Southern closing its campus because of Hurricane Irma, the Buccaneers’ game at South Carolina State was postponed. They also lost a game to Hurricane Matthew last season.

Next Opponent: Elon (Sept. 16)


25. Maine

(1-1, 0-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 60-12 win over Bryant

Of Note: The Black Bears are being overlooked nationally and have two weeks to prepare for defending FCS champion James Madison. Against Bryant, Josh Mack had 212 of his 255 rushing yards by halftime.

Next Opponent: at No. 1 James Madison (Sept. 23)


Power Poll Possibilities: North Carolina A&T (2-0, 0-0 MEAC); Weber State (1-1, 0-0 Big Sky)


— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.


(Photo courtesy Eastern Washington University Athletics)

Event Date: 
Saturday, September 9, 2017 - 23:39

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