FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 7

There’s mostly impressive performances, not a lot of change, in the rankings

Status quo in the FCS?


No way.


Yup, believe it – for one week, at least. In a rarity, the nation’s top teams did what they were supposed to do by winning their games. What a novel concept.


Only Northern Iowa lost among the top 17 teams.


Here is the Athlon Sports FCS Power Poll through the games of Oct. 8:


1. North Dakota State

(5-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley)

Previous Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 27-3 win over Missouri State

Incredibly, the Bison have won the time of possession in 35 of their last 36 games. The one time they didn’t win it? Yes, a loss to South Dakota last Oct. 17.  

Next Opponent: No. 10 South Dakota State (Oct. 15)


2. Eastern Washington

(5-1, 3-0 Big Sky)

Previous Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 49-31 win over Northern Colorado

Senior wide receiver Shaq Hill has moved past Cooper Kupp for the team lead in touchdowns, eight to seven. Now that is news.

Next Opponent: at Montana State (Oct. 22)


3. Jacksonville State

(4-1, 1-0 Ohio Valley)

Previous Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 40-21 win over Tennessee Tech

The Gamecocks only had five takeaways in their first four games, but they matched that number against Tennessee Tech in their 18th straight OVC win.

Next Opponent: Austin Peay (Oct. 15)


4. Sam Houston State

(5-0, 4-0 Southland)

Previous Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 63-48 win over Incarnate Word

The Bearkats scored 63 points for the second straight game. This time, the offense did it while possessing the ball for less than 19 minutes. Head coach K.C. Keeler’s squad has scored more than 50 points in all but one game.

Next Opponent: Abilene Christian (Oct. 15)


5. Chattanooga

(6-0, 4-0 Southern)

Previous Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 52-31 win over Mercer

After avenging their surprising loss to Mercer last season, the Mocs head to The Citadel with first place on the line in the Southern Conference. They’re the only 6-0 team in the FCS.

Next Opponent: at No. 12 The Citadel (Oct. 15)


6. James Madison

(5-1, 3-0 CAA Football)

Previous Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 31-24 win over William & Mary

Senior Khalid Abdullah made it five straight games of at least 100 yards by gaining a career-high 194 with three touchdowns against rival William & Mary.

Next Opponent: at New Hampshire (Oct. 15)


7. Richmond

(5-1, 2-1 CAA)

Previous Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 36-30 win over then-No. 20 Albany in three OTs

Star quarterback Kyle Lauletta was held without a touchdown pass in the thriller at Albany, but freshman Deontez Thompson rushed for three TDs and David Broadus ran in the game-winner in the third overtime.

Next Opponent: No. 13 Villanova (Oct. 15)


8. Charleston Southern

(3-2, 1-0 Big South)

Previous Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: vs. Albany State (canceled)
CSU’s game against Albany State was canceled because of Hurricane Matthew. With a bye on Oct. 15, the Buccaneers will go three weeks between playing games.

Next Opponent: Presbyterian (Oct. 22)


9. Montana

(4-1, 1-1 Big Sky)

Previous Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 67-7 win over Mississippi Valley State

With five sacks and 11 tackles for a loss, the Grizzlies held Mississippi Valley State to negative-61 rushing yards. They also forced five turnovers, scoring touchdowns on both an interception and fumble recovery in the end zone.

Next Opponent: Sacramento State (Oct. 15)


10. South Dakota State

(3-2, 2-0 Missouri Valley)

Previous Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 45-39 win over South Dakota State

Quarterback Taryn Christion continues to be dazzling (20 TD passes). The Jackrabbits believe they have enough firepower to end an eight-game losing streak to top-ranked North Dakota State.

Next Opponent: at No. 1 North Dakota State (Oct. 15)


11. Western Illinois

(4-1, 1-1 Missouri Valley)

Previous Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 36-35 win over Indiana State

Whew, WIU! Indiana State didn’t go for a potential winning field goal in the final minute and was stopped on 4th-and-1 at the Leathernecks’ 29-yard line.

Next Opponent: at Missouri State (Oct. 15)


12. The Citadel

(5-0, 3-0 Southern)

Previous Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 38-14 win over North Greenville

The No. 1 rushing offense in the FCS has maxed out over the last two weeks, averaging 538 yards. In last year’s loss at Chattanooga, the Bulldogs played from behind from the first offensive play on, which hurt their game plan.

Next Opponent: No. 5 Chattanooga (Oct. 15)


13. Villanova

(5-1, 3-0 CAA Football)

Previous Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 35-0 win over Rhode Island

Over the last two weeks of a five-game winning streak, Villanova has allowed only seven points and 233 yards. The ‘Cats sit atop the CAA standings with James Madison and New Hampshire.

Next Opponent: at No. 7 Richmond (Oct. 15)


14. Youngstown State

(4-1, 2-0 Missouri Valley)

Previous Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 20-6 win at then-No. 21 Illinois State

Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has the Penguins playing tougher than their nickname. They’re consistently stopping the run and opponents on third down.

Next Opponent: No. 17 Northern Iowa (Oct. 15)


15. Cal Poly

(3-2, 1-1 Big Sky)

Previous Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: Idle

It’s not as though they are turning into Eastern Washington, but the Mustangs’ triple option offense, under quarterback Dano Graves’ direction, leads the FCS in team passing efficiency (201.49). 

Next Opponent: at Portland State (Oct. 15)


16. Coastal Carolina

(3-2 FCS Independent)

Previous Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: Idle

De’Angelo Henderson’s next 100-yard game – yeah, think Gardner-Webb – will be the 23rd of his career and a new Coastal record. He has 683 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Next Opponent: at Gardner-Webb (Oct. 15)


17. Northern Iowa

(2-3, 1-1 Missouri Valley)

Previous Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 28-25 loss to South Dakota

The preseason No. 3 squad’s margin for error isn’t big at 2-3, and there’s still four top-15 teams on the schedule (Youngstown State, North Dakota State, Western Illinois and South Dakota State).

Next Opponent: at No. 14 Youngstown State (Oct. 15)


18. North Dakota

(4-2, 3-0 Big Sky)

Previous Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 40-7 win over Sacramento State

The Fighting Hawks have overcome an 0-2 start and are tied for first place in the Big Sky Conference. They don’t have Eastern Washington (the other co-leader) and Montana on their conference schedule.

Next Opponent: Southern Utah (Oct. 15)


19. Samford

(4-1, 2-1 Southern)

Previous Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 38-21 win over Furman

Quarterback Devlin Hodges and wide receiver Karel Hamilton connected for three touchdown passes in the win at Furman. The Bulldogs look more and more like an FCS playoff team.

Next Opponent: VMI (Oct. 15)


20. Stony Brook

(3-2, 2-1 CAA)

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 27-20 win over Towson

It’s hard to ignore the Seawolves’ hit list: they’ve beaten nationally ranked Richmond and North Dakota as well as Towson on the road. The puzzling result is a 38-10 loss to Sacred Heart.

Next Opponent: Rhode Island (Oct. 15)


21. Eastern Illinois

(4-2, 2-1 OVC)

Previous Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 35-34 win over Tennessee State

Senior running back Devin Church has been enjoying an All-OVC season. His 131 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns sank previously unbeaten Tennessee State.

Next Opponent: at Tennessee Tech (Oct. 15)


22. Albany

(4-1, 1-1 CAA Football)

Previous Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 36-30 loss to No. 7 Richmond in three OTs

The Great Danes pushed Richmond to the limit before falling in their biggest CAA game since joining the conference in 2013. Running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks was held to 34 yards on 16 carries. 

Next Opponent: at Maine (Oct. 15)


23. Central Arkansas

(4-1, 3-0 Southland)

Previous Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: Idle

Head coach Steve Campbell’s squad has a daunting road schedule ahead in the Southland Conference – McNeese, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State.

Next Opponent: at McNeese (Oct. 15)


24. Harvard

(4-0, 2-0 Ivy)

Previous Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 29-13 win over Cornell

Shhh! Don’t tell North Dakota State, but the Crimson also have only five losses since the start of the 2011 season. Sure, 49-5 isn’t 76-5, but head coach Tim Murphy’s program keeps getting it done.

Next Opponent: at Holy Cross (Oct. 15)


25. North Carolina A&T

(4-1, 2-0 MEAC)

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 35-0 win over Norfolk State

After two straight 200-yard games, senior Tarik Cohen has become the MEAC’s all-time rushing leader with 4,702 yards. The Aggies have posted two shutouts this season.

Next Opponent: at Holy Cross (Oct. 15)


Power poll possibilities: Lehigh (4-2, 1-0 Patriot), McNeese (3-3, 2-2 Southland) and New Hampshire (4-2, 3-0 CAA)


— 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.


(Top photo by Villanova Athletics)

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