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FCS Football: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 1

Wins over FBS highlight a fun-filled schedule of opening week
Matthew Sluka, Holy Cross Crusaders Football

Holy Cross quarterback Matthew Sluka (9) accounted for three touchdowns in the Crusaders' 38-28 win at UConn – their first over an FBS program since 2002. (Matt Selinger Photography)

An FCS program beating an FBS opponent?

Check.

And check. And check. And …

Eastern Washington, South Dakota State, Montana and UC Davis – all ranked in the Athlon FCS Power Poll prior to the 2021 season – got some company from ETSU and Holy Cross in the first full week of action – an 82-game, five-day, and, certainly, fun-filled schedule of openers. 

It’s on.

Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 1 games:

1. James Madison

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 1
Week 1 Result: 68-10 win over Morehead State
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Maine

2. South Dakota State

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 4
Week 1 Result: 42-23 win at Colorado State
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Lindenwood

3. North Dakota State

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 2
Week 1 Result: 28-6 win over Albany
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Valparaiso

4. Sam Houston

(1-0, 0-0 AQ7)
Previous Ranking: 3
Week 1 Result: 42-16 win at Northern Arizona
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Southeast Missouri

5. Montana (Co-Team of the Week)

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 11
Week 1 Result: 13-7 win at Washington

The defense led the way as the Griz posted the sixth all-time FCS win over a ranked FBS opponent (since 1978). Gavin Robertson had a pair of interceptions, Marcus Welnel added one along with a game-high 12 tackles, and Patrick O’Connell included a pair of sacks among his 10 stops.

Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Western Illinois

6. North Dakota

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 7
Week 1 Result: 35-14 win at Idaho State
Next Game: Sept. 10 at Utah State

7. Delaware

(1-0, 1-0 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 5
Week 1 Result: 34-24 win at Maine
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Saint Francis

8. Southern Illinois

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 9
Week 1 Result: 47-21 win at Southeast Missouri
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Kansas State

9. Montana State

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 8
Week 1 Result: 19-16 loss at Wyoming
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Drake

10. Weber State

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 6
Week 1 Result: 40-17 loss at Utah
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Dixie State

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11. Villanova

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 16
Week 1 Result: 47-3 win at Lehigh
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Bucknell

12. UC Davis (Co-Team of the Week)

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 17
Week 1 Result: 19-17 win at Tulsa

The Aggies were 23-point underdogs while pulling off their fourth all-time FBS win. An interception by Cole Hansen set up Isaiah Gomez for a go-ahead field goal midway through the fourth quarter – his fourth of the game. Chris Venable later forced a fumble for a touchback and quarterback Hunter Rodriguez finished with a career-high 311 passing yards and a touchdown.

Next Game: Sept. 11 at San Diego

13. Eastern Washington

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 19
Week 1 Result: 35-33 2OT win at UNLV
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Central Washington

14. Central Arkansas

(0-1, 0-0 AQ7)
Previous Ranking: 13
Week 1 Result: 40-21 loss at Arkansas State
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Missouri State

15. Southeastern Louisiana

(1-0, 0-0 Southland)
Previous Ranking: 15
Week 1 Result: 49-28 win at North Alabama
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Louisiana Tech

16. Northern Iowa

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 14
Week 1 Result: 16-10 loss at Iowa State
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Sacramento State

17. Austin Peay

(1-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley)
Previous Ranking: 23
Week 1 Result: 30-20 win at Chattanooga
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Ole Miss

18. VMI

(1-0, 0-0 Southern)
Previous Ranking: 18
Week 1 Result: 45-24 win over Davidson
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Kent State

19. Monmouth

(0-1, 0-0 Big South)
Previous Ranking: 12
Week 1 Result: 50-15 loss at Middle Tennessee
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Fordham

20. New Hampshire

(1-0, 1-0 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 22
Week 1 Result: 27-21 win at Stony Brook
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Towson

21. Jacksonville State

(0-1, 0-0 AQ7)
Previous Ranking: 10
Week 1 Result: 31-0 loss to UAB
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Florida State

22. Missouri State

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 25
Week 1 Result: 23-16 loss at Oklahoma State
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Central Arkansas

23. ETSU

(1-0, 0-0 Southern)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Week 1 Result: 23-3 win at Vanderbilt
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. UVA Wise

24. Furman

(1-0, 0-0 Southern)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Week 1 Result: 29-18 win over North Carolina A&T
Next Game: Sept. 11 at Tennessee Tech

25. Holy Cross

(1-0, 0-0 Patriot)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Week 1 Result: 38-28 win at UConn
Next Game: Sept. 11 vs. Merrimack

On the Cusp: Kennesaw State (1-0, 0-0 Big South); Murray State (1-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley); Rhode Island (1-0, 0-0 CAA); Richmond (1-0, 0-0 CAA); Sacramento State (1-0, 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.TheAnalyst.com. He appears frequently on radio, TV and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.