FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 6

Youngstown State, Central Arkansas post top-10 wins

FCS Power Poll RankingsThe staple of the Athlon FCS Power Poll is the top seven or eight teams usually win and everybody below shuffles around.


It wasn’t the case this past weekend as No. 3 South Dakota State and No. 4 Sam Houston State took a tumble. Not surprisingly, the teams that beat them, Youngstown State and Central Arkansas, respectively, are movin’ on up – not quite to that deluxe apartment in the sky, but pretty darn close this week.


Yeah, that’s FCS champ James Madison sitting pretty in the penthouse.


Here is the Athlon FCS Power Poll heading into Week 6 of the regular season:


1. James Madison

(5-0, 2-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 20-10 win over Delaware

Of Note: The Dukes leaned on running back Trai Sharp (185 yards, one touchdown) and their defense (Andrew Ankrah scored on a 23-yard fumble return) to capture a record-tying 17th straight CAA Football win.

Next Opponent: No. 14 Villanova (Oct. 14)


2. North Dakota State

(4-0, 1-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 38-11 win over Missouri State

Of Note: In their MVFC opener, Bison forced three turnovers and got back star linebacker Nick DeLuca (9.5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, pass breakup) from a meniscus tear.

Next Opponent: at Indiana State (Oct. 7)


3. Youngstown State

(3-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 19-7 win over then-No. 3 South Dakota State

Of Note: Incredibly, the Penguins held the ball for 45 minutes, 14 seconds and ran 86 offensive plays to South Dakota State’s 37.

Next Opponent: at No. 4 South Dakota (Oct. 7)


4. South Dakota

(4-0, 1-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 38-33 win over then-No. 9 Western Illinois

Of Note: Coyotes quarterback Chris Streveler (17 total touchdowns) is having as good a season as any FCS player in the nation.

Next Opponent: No. 3 Youngstown State (Oct. 7)


5. Jacksonville State

(3-1, 1-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 34-7 win over Tennessee Tech

Of Note: The Gamecocks are one win shy of the Ohio Valley Conference record of 26 consecutive victories, set by Eastern Kentucky from 1992-95.

Next Opponent: at Austin Peay (Oct. 7)


6. Eastern Washington

(3-2, 2-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 52-31 win over Sacramento State

Of Note: Just another day at the office for Gage Gubrud: 447 passing yards and five touchdowns plus a 43-yard TD reception.

Next Opponent: at UC Davis (Oct. 7)


7. Central Arkansas

(3-1, 1-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 41-30 win over then-No. 4 Sam Houston State

Of Note: With 294 yards and four touchdowns through the air, Hayden Hildebrand outdueled Sam Houston’s Jeremiah Briscoe.

Next Opponent: at Houston Baptist (Oct. 7)


8. South Dakota State

(3-1, 0-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 19-7 loss to then-No. 6 Youngstown State

Of Note: Quarterback Taryn Christion and Co. didn’t find any offensive rhythm in its first loss.

Next Opponent: Southern Illinois (Oct. 7)


9. Sam Houston State

(3-1, 1-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 41-30 loss to then-No. 10 Central Arkansas

Of Note: In a telling statement, quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe said after the Bearkats’ first loss, “James Madison charted the blueprint to beat us, which is play man coverage.”

Next Opponent: vs. Stephen F. Austin in Houston (Oct. 7)


10. Wofford

(4-0, 2-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 31-7 win over Presbyterian (Sept. 30)

Of Note: There was no looking back after Blake Morgan scored on a 94-yard tear on the Terriers’ first play from scrimmage.

Next Opponent: No. 19 Western Carolina (Oct. 7)


11. Illinois State

(4-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 24-13 win over Indiana State

Of Note: Jake Kolbe threw for a career-best 345 yards and two touchdowns to Christian Gibbs.

Next Opponent: at Northern Arizona (Oct. 7)


12. Western Illinois

(3-1, 0-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 38-33 loss to then-No. 7 South Dakota

Of Note: Wide receiver Jaelon Acklin (19 receptions, 343 yards, 3 TDs) and linebacker Brett Taylor (28 tackles) were unbelievable in the Leathernecks’ first loss.

Next Opponent: No. 22 Northern Iowa (Oct. 7)


13. Richmond

(2-2, 0-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Of Note: Despite the return of last year’s top three running backs, including 1,000-yard rusher Deontez Thompson, sophomore Jay Palmer is pacing the team in rushing yards (160).

Next Opponent: Albany (Oct. 7)


14. Villanova

(3-2, 1-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 24-9 win over Towson

Of Note: A banged-up 'Nova felt better after picking up its first CAA win, but quarterback Zach Bednarcyk (knee) was the latest standout to be knocked from a game.

Next Opponent: Maine (Oct. 7)


15. New Hampshire

(4-1, 3-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 45-17 win over Bryant

Of Note: With three more touchdown receptions, UNH junior Neil O’Connors now has eight this season.

Next Opponent: at No. 23 Stony Brook (Oct. 14)


16. Elon

(4-1, 2-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 6-0 win over then-No. 19 Albany

Of Note: With its first shutout since 2009, the Phoenix have beaten three straight nationally ranked teams under first-year head coach Curt Cignetti.

Next Opponent: William & Mary (Oct. 7)


17. North Carolina A&T

(5-0, 2-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 21-7 win over South Carolina State

Of Note: The Aggies forced three turnovers and linebacker Jeremy Taylor had a hand in each one.

Next Opponent: Delaware State (Oct. 7)


18. Weber State

(4-1, 2-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 25-17 win over Montana State

Of Note: Trey Tuttle booted four field goals for the Wildcats, who have been the most consistent team in the Big Sky.

Next Opponent: Southern Utah (Oct. 14)


19. Western Carolina

(4-1, 2-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 45-7 win over Chattanooga

Of Note: The Catamounts played without Detrez Newsome, the FCS’ all-purpose yardage leader who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. In his place, Corey Holloway rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at No. 10 Wofford (Oct. 7)


20. Samford

(3-2, 1-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 35-14 win over then-No. 18 The Citadel

Of Note: With a 28-0 first-quarter lead, Samford put away the two-time defending Southern Conference champs early. Kelvin McKnight had his FCS-best ninth touchdown reception.

Next Opponent: at VMI (Oct. 7)


21. UT Martin

(3-2, 1-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 7-0 loss to Austin Peay

Of Note: After beating Tennessee State in a matchup of ranked teams, the Skyhawks clearly didn’t take Austin Peay seriously enough.

Next Opponent: Murray State (Oct. 7)


22. Northern Iowa

(2-2, 1-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 24-17 win over Southern Illinois

Of Note: UNI’s defense forced three fourth-quarter turnovers to pull out their conference opener.

Next Opponent: No. 12 Western Illinois (Oct. 7)


23. Stony Brook

(4-1, 3-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 21-18 win over William & Mary

Of Note: The winning streak is at four because the Seawolves have yet to surrender more than 18 points to an FCS opponent.

Next Opponent: Delaware (Oct. 7)


24. The Citadel

(3-1, 1-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 35-14 loss at then-No. 24 Samford

Of Note: We’ve been warning that the Bulldogs were living off their 2015-16 success. The early schedule was simply too easy.

Next Opponent: Mercer (Oct. 7)


25. Montana

(3-2, 1-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 45-33 win over Portland State

Of Note: Justin Strong had three interceptions and a touchdown to help get the Griz back into the power poll.

Next Opponent: at Idaho State (Oct. 7)


Power Poll Possibilities: Albany (3-2, 2-1 CAA); McNeese (4-1, 2-1 Southland)


— 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 Central Arkansas Athletics)

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 10:35

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