FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 9

James Madison, North Dakota State separate themselves from all the rest

FCS Power Poll RankingsWhatever you do, we’ll do better. That’s what No. 1 James Madison and No. 2 North Dakota State seem to be saying to each other throughout their dominating 7-0 starts to their season.


The winners of the last six FCS national titles (OK, NDSU owns five of them) have played on a level that’s higher than every other team this season.


With so many other teams falling – kudos to No. 3 Jacksonville State, though – there is some serious reshuffling in the power poll.


Here is the Athlon FCS Power Poll heading into Week 9 of the regular season:


1. James Madison

(7-0, 4-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 46-14 win over William & Mary

Of Note: The Dukes' defense totaled six sacks and six takeaways to terrorize rival William & Mary and win a Division I-high 19th straight game.

Next Opponent: New Hampshire (Oct. 28)


2. North Dakota State

(7-0, 4-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 24-12 win over then-No. 8 Western Illinois

Of Note: Quarterback Easton Stick accounted for three touchdowns and head coach Chris Klieman felt the Bison owned the line of scrimmage, not allowing WIU’s potent offense to find the end zone.

Next Opponent: No. 13 Northern Iowa (Oct. 28)


3. Jacksonville State

(6-1, 4-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 30-14 win over Eastern Illinois

Of Note: Star running back Roc Thomas left the team’s 28th straight OVC win with an elbow injury.

Next Opponent: Southeast Missouri (Oct. 28)


4. South Dakota

(6-1, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 37-21 loss to Illinois State

Of Note: Even in the Coyotes’ first loss, quarterback Chris Streveler was terrific. He set program records for completions (39) and attempts (63) and threw for a career-high 440 yards, the most by a USD player since 2005.

Next Opponent: Southern Illinois (Oct. 28)


5. Central Arkansas

(6-1, 5-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 45-17 win over Northwestern State

Of Note: In a game delayed twice, the Bears took care of business behind Hayden Hildebrand (three TD passes) and Carlos Blackman (130 rushing yards, three TDs).

Next Opponent: No. 22 McNeese (Oct. 28)


6. Sam Houston State

(6-1, 4-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 63-27 win over Lamar

Of Note: Davion Davis provided twice as many punt return yards (100) on half the attempts (two) as the kickoff return unit (four for 50). He scored on a 46-yard return.

Next Opponent: at Southeastern Louisiana (Oct. 28)


7. South Dakota State

(5-2, 2-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 62-30 win over Missouri State

Of Note: Mikey likes it – the end zone, that is. Sophomore Mikey Daniel rushed for four short touchdowns in the Jackrabbits’ rout of Missouri State.

Next Opponent: at No. 8 Western Illinois (Oct. 28)


8. Western Illinois

(5-2, 2-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 24-12 loss to No. 2 North Dakota State

Of Note: Naturally, linebacker Brett Taylor, the national leader in tackles per game, had a game-high 17 stops against NDSU.

Next Opponent: No. 7 South Dakota State (Oct. 28)


9. Elon

(6-1, 4-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 35-34 win over Rhode Island

Of Note: After running back Malcolm Summers’ season-ending injury, the youngsters stepped up their play: freshman Davis Cheek threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore DeSean McNair rushed for 126 yards and two TDs.

Next Opponent: at No. 18 Villanova (Oct. 28)


10. Wofford

(6-1, 4-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 loss to then-No. 19 Samford

Of Note: Four teams (Wofford, Western Carolina, Furman and Samford) sit with one SoCon loss after the Terriers dropped from the unbeaten ranks.

Next Opponent: at ETSU (Oct. 28)


11. Northern Arizona

(5-2, 4-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 45-31 win over UC Davis

Of Note: NAU isn’t renewing head coach Jerome Souers’ contract past this season. That will look foolish if the first-place Lumberjacks win the Big Sky title.

Next Opponent: Sacramento State (Oct. 28)


12. Southern Utah

(5-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 46-28 win over then-No. 5 Eastern Washington

Of Note: No, a Thunderbirds win over Eastern Washington wasn’t shocking because they’re 12-1 at home since the start of the 2015 season, with the lone loss by one point.

Next Opponent: at Northern Colorado (Oct. 28)


13. Northern Iowa

(4-3, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 19-14 win over then-No. 10 Youngstown State

Of Note: With a physical running game again – Marcus Weymiller has rushed for 302 yards and four touchdowns the last two weeks – UNI is a different team.

Next Opponent: at No. 2 North Dakota State (Oct. 28)


14. Eastern Washington

(5-3, 4-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 46-28 loss to then-No. 20 Southern Utah

Of Note: In turning the ball over four times, the Eagles held it for only 23 minutes, 18 seconds against Southern Utah.

Next Opponent: Weber State (Nov. 4)


15. Western Carolina

(6-2, 4-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 26-7 win over VMI

Of Note: At least VMI’s FCS-high 14-game losing streak is shorter than the 15 straight games it has lost to the Catamounts.

Next Opponent: Furman (Oct. 28)


16. Samford

(5-2, 3-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 win over then-No. 10 Wofford

Of Note: Junior Devlin Hodges passed for 427 yards and three touchdowns while improving to 3-0 in his career against Wofford.

Next Opponent: Chattanooga (Oct. 28)


17. Villanova

(4-3, 2-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: Injury-riddled ‘Nova plays three of its final four games at home, where it is 2-0 this season.

Next Opponent: No. 9 Elon (Oct. 28)


18. Delaware

(5-2, 3-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 42-35 double-OT win over then-No. 11 Richmond

Of Note: Jamie Jarmon scored three touchdowns, including a highlight-reel flip into the Richmond end zone after being hit before the goal line. Danny Rocco’s Blue Hens have won three straight games.

Next Opponent: at Towson (Oct. 28)


19. Montana

(5-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: The team record and individual excellence of different defensive players don’t equate to the team’s lower rankings in the Big Sky.

Next Opponent: at Weber State (Oct. 28)


20. North Carolina A&T

(8-0, 5-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 24-20 win over Bethune-Cookman

Of Note: The Aggies drop after what head coach Rod Broadway called an ugly win, although they matched the best start in program history. Lamar Raynard threw three touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at Norfolk State (Nov. 4)


21. Youngstown State

(3-4, 1-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 19-14 loss to then-No. 22 Northern Iowa

Of Note: The Penguins are a victim of their MVFC schedule, losing games in succession to South Dakota, North Dakota State and UNI.

Next Opponent: No. 24 Illinois State (Oct. 28)


22. McNeese

(6-1, 4-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 55-7 win over Incarnate Word

Of Note: The streaking Cowboys (six straight wins) tied an NCAA all-divisions record with four interception returns for touchdowns (Calum Foster, Colby Burton, Dominique Hill and Marcus Foster).

Next Opponent: at No. 5 Central Arkansas (Oct. 28)


23. Richmond

(4-3, 2-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 42-35 double-OT loss to then-No. 21 Delaware

Of Note: Quarterback Kyle Lauletta had five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in the epic encounter against Delaware.

Next Opponent: Stony Brook (Oct. 28)


24. Illinois State

(5-2, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 37-21 win over then-No. 3 South Dakota

Of Note: James Robinson led a 331-yard ground assault with a career-high 193 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Next Opponent: at No. 21 Youngstown State (Oct. 28)


25. Grambling State

(6-1, 3-0 SWAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 41-14 win over Alcorn State

Of Note: The G-Men had seven takeaways, scoring 21 points off them, to win a meeting of teams that split the last two SWAC championship games.

Next Opponent: Texas Southern (Oct. 28)


Power Poll Possibilities: New Hampshire (5-2, 4-1 CAA), Nicholls (5-2, 4-1 Southland), Stony Brook (5-2, 4-1 CAA), Weber State (5-2, 3-1 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 James Madison Athletics)

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 00:32

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