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FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 4

Top eight unchanged amid some decisive results

FCS Power Poll RankingsRemember when Top 25 teams would try to get style points for running up a big score on an opponent?

 

Well, seven of the top 11 teams in last week’s Athlon Sports FCS Power Poll were in action this past Saturday and the closest game among them was a 25-point spread.

 

Ah, but two of the teams lost by the big margins. What comes around, goes around, eh.

 

Here is the Athlon Sports FCS Power Poll heading into Week 4 of the regular season:

 

1. James Madison

(3-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 75-14 win over Norfolk State

Of Note: MEAC opponent or not, it’s impressive to outgain an opponent by 637 yards (728 to 91). Since the start of the 2016 season, the Dukes have scored at least 75 points three times.

Next Opponent: No. 22 Maine (Sept. 23)

 

2. North Dakota State

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: The Bison stampede indeed. Behind running backs Lance Dunn and Bruce Anderson, the Missouri Valley Football Conference power leads the FCS in rushing yards per game (436.5).

Next Opponent: Robert Morris (Sept. 23)

 

3. South Dakota State

(3-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 51-10 win over Drake

Of Note: SDSU cleared the bench, allowing freshman linebacker Seven Wilson, wearing jersey No. 7, to lead the team with, uh, um, six tackles! At least the No. 7 Penguins are up next.

Next Opponent: at No. 7 Youngstown State (Sept. 30)

 

4. Sam Houston State

(2-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: The 16 days leading into the Southland Conference schedule are welcomed by the Bearkats because their schedule is front-loaded with Nicholls, Central Arkansas and rival Stephen F. Austin.

Next Opponent: Nicholls (Sept. 23)

 

5. Jacksonville State

(1-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: Despite the presence of senior defensive end Darius Jackson, the Gamecocks have only two sacks through two games. They had six in last year’s blowout win of Liberty.

Next Opponent: No. 12 Liberty

 

6. Richmond

(2-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 68-21 win over Howard

Of Note: The Spiders welcomed back Howard head coach Mike London, who led the Spiders to the 2008 FCS national title, and wasted little time showing him where their programs stand, building a 48-0 first-half lead.

Next Opponent: Elon (Sept. 23)

 

7. Youngstown State

(2-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 59-9 win over Central Connecticut State

Of Note: After back-to-back blowouts of Northeast Conference opponents, the Penguins must be happy to have a bye before meeting five straight ranked opponents from the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Next Opponent: No. 3 South Dakota State (Sept. 30)

 

8. Villanova

(2-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 59-0 win over Lafayette

Of Note: ‘Nova has posted a shutout in each of the past three seasons. Tight end Ryan Bell (16 receptions for 285 yards and three touchdowns) has come up huge this season.

Next Opponent: at Albany (Sept. 23)

 

9. South Dakota

(3-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 45-7 win over then-No. 11 North Dakota

Of Note: Behind quarterback Chris Streveler, the Coyotes are averaging 52.3 points per game, ranking fourth in the FCS.

Next Opponent: at No. 13 Western Illinois (Sept. 30)

 

10. Wofford

(2-0, 2-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: Following a bye week, the Terriers are expected to give 30th-year head coach Mike Ayers his 200th win with the Southern Conference program.

Next Opponent: Gardner-Webb (Sept. 23)

 

11. Eastern Washington

(1-2, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 56-21 win over Fordham

Of Note: Start spreading the news: Gage Gubrud totals 471 yards and five touchdowns and the Eagle posts a school-record 10 sacks in a cross-country visit to the Big Apple.

Next Opponent: at Montana (Sept. 23)

 

12. Liberty

(3-0)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 42-41 win over Indiana State

Of Note: The Flames might have been caught looking ahead to Jacksonville State, but they hold on versus Indiana State by blocking a field goal to end the game.

Next Opponent: at No. 5 Jacksonville State (Sept. 23)

 

13. Western Illinois

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: WIU and Coastal Carolina have played two close games in Conway, South Carolina, since 2010. Following Coastal’s move to the FBS, the Leathernecks were bought out of a home game to head back there.

Next Opponent: at Coastal Carolina (Sept. 23)

 

14. Central Arkansas

(2-1, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 38-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana

Of Note: After an impressive opening win in the Southland Conference, the Bears will have two weeks to prepare for Sam Houston State.

Next Opponent: No. 4 Sam Houston State (Sept. 30)

 

15. Illinois State

(2-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 44-13 win over Eastern Illinois

Of Note: At least the Mid-America Classic was “Mid-America.” A classic? Not so much. Through two wins, the Redbirds' defense has allowed only 14 rushing yards on 58 carries.

Next Opponent: at Missouri State (Sept. 23)

 

16. New Hampshire

(2-1, 1-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 51-26 loss to Holy Cross

Of Note: One week after posting its first FBS win since 2009, the Wildcats were picked apart by Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals (367 yards, five touchdowns).

Next Opponent: Rhode Island (Sept. 23)

 

17. North Dakota

(1-2, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 45-7 loss to then-No. 14 South Dakota

Of Note: The Fighting Hawks can take solace about losing to rival South Dakota because they also were 1-2 in non-conference play last season before sweeping through the Big Sky.

Next Opponent: Montana State (Sept. 23)

 

18. The Citadel

(3-0, 1-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 31-25 win over ETSU

Of Note: Whew, the Bulldogs escaped an upset bid by holding the ball for 37 minutes in their Southern Conference opener. Quarterback Dominique Allen had both a touchdown run and pass.

Next Opponent: at No. 21 Samford (Sept. 30)

 

19. Tennessee State

(3-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 24-13 win over Florida A&M

Of Note: The Tigers are 3-0 for the second consecutive season. Injury-plagued Ebenezer “Ebo” Ogundeko left the Florida A&M game with a leg injury and did not return.

Next Opponent: at No. 20 UT Martin (Sept. 23)

 

20. UT Martin

(2-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 21-7 win over Chattanooga

Of Note: Breakout running back Ladarius Galloway was slowed down, but Troy Cook passed for 183 yards and three touchdowns in the intrastate win at Chattanooga.

Next Opponent: No. 19 Tennessee State (Sept. 23)

 

21. Samford

(2-1, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 42-14 loss to Georgia

Of Note: Playing SEC opponents tends to bring out the best in Samford signal-caller Devlin Hodges, who despite facing heavy pressure was 26 of 35 for 227 yards and two touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at Western Carolina (Sept. 23)

 

22. Maine

(1-1, 0-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: James Madison’s 12-game winning streak that ended with the 2016 FCS championship began with the Dukes trailing at Maine early in the fourth quarter of their CAA Football opener.

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

 

23. Southern Utah

(2-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 win over then No. 19-Northern Iowa

Of Note: The Thunderbirds got two touchdown runs from James Felila to gain just the second Big Sky win in the conference’s challenge series with the Missouri Valley.

Next Opponent: at Sacramento State (Sept. 23)

 

24. Northern Iowa

(1-2, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 loss to Southern Utah

Of Note: The non-conference schedule has prepared the Panthers for the Missouri Valley. Unfortunately for them, they’re 1-2 and the conference doesn’t leave much of a margin for error.

Next Opponent: at Southern Illinois (Sept. 30)

 

25. North Carolina A&T

(3-0, 0-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 35-31 win over Charlotte

Of Note: Head coach Rod Broadway’s program has defeated an FBS team in each of the past two seasons. Quarterback Lamar Raynard has taken his play to a higher level this season.

Next Opponent: at Morgan State (Sept. 23)

 

Power Poll Possibilities: Montana (2-1, 0-0 Big Sky), Nicholls (2-1, 1-0 Southland); Weber State (2-1, 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 of University of South Dakota Athletics)

Event Date: 
Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 23:51

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