FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 12

Bison, Dukes start leading teams into the postseason

Invitations to the FCS playoffs weren't just handed out on Saturday, they were taken with authority.


With North Dakota State and James Madison bullying the competition, as usual, they helped lead a group of six teams to clinch conference titles and automatic bids to the playoffs. The group that also included Wofford, Monmouth, Central Connecticut State, and San Diego. These teams all won games by at least 17 points and by nearly 31 points on average.


Week 13 will be the final full week of the regular season. The 24-team playoff pairings will be announced on Sunday.


Here's the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 12 games:


1. North Dakota State

(11-0, 7-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 49-14 win over South Dakota

Notable: The Bison clinched a ninth straight MVFC title by racking up their Division I record for yards in a game for the second straight week, this time 700. Quarterback Trey Lance threw a pair of touchdowns to give him 23 against no interceptions this season.

Next Game: at Southern Illinois (Nov. 23)


2. James Madison

(10-1, 7-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 48-6 win over Richmond

Notable: Ben DiNucci threw three touchdowns and passed for another as the Dukes clinched a third outright CAA title in four seasons.

Next Game: at Rhode Island (Nov. 23)


3. Montana

(9-2, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 35-16 win over Weber State

Notable: Wide receiver Samori Toure racked up a career-high 193 receiving yards and caught three touchdowns from Dalton Sneed.

Next Game: at Montana State (Nov. 23)


4. Weber State

(8-3, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 35-16 loss to Montana

Notable: The Wildcats committed four turnovers and managed only 69 rushing yards in their first FCS loss.

Next Game: Idaho State (Nov. 23)


5. South Dakota State

(8-3, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 38-7 win over Northern Iowa

Notable: Keaton Heide (15 of 16 for 196 yards and two touchdowns) had a big outing, but star running back Pierre Strong Jr. departed with an injury.

Next Game: at South Dakota (Nov. 23)


6. Sacramento State

(8-3, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 31-7 win over Idaho

Notable: The Hornets have reached eight wins for the first time in their Division I era (since 1993) and are less than a week away from earning their first FCS playoff bid.

Next Game: UC Davis (Nov. 23)


7. Montana State

(8-3, 5-2 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 27-17 win over UC Davis

Notable: Travis Jonsen, Isaiah Ifanse, and Troy Anderson rushed for TDs and the Bobcats controlled 35 minutes, 36 seconds of game clock.

Next Game: Montana (Nov. 23)


8. Northern Iowa

(7-4, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 38-7 loss to South Dakota State

Notable: QB Will McElvain didn’t have his No. 1 receiving option, Isaiah Weston, while accounting for four turnovers.

Next Game: Western Illinois (Nov. 23)


9. Illinois State

(8-3, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 17-12 win over Missouri State

Notable: Brady Davis passed for two touchdowns, James Robinson rushed for 155 yards and the Redbirds avoided an upset with a late goal-line stand.

Next Game: at Youngstown State (Nov. 23)


10. Central Arkansas

(8-3, 6-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 30-7 win over Stephen F. Austin

Notable: The Bears rushed for a season-high 263 yards, more than SFA’s total offensive yards (232). Breylin Smith bounced back from a poor game with two TD passes.

Next Game: at UIW (Nov. 22)


11. Villanova

(8-3, 4-3 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 35-7 win over Long Island

Notable: QB Daniel Smith’s five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) were way too much for a winless opponent.

Next Game: Delaware (Nov. 23)


12. Austin Peay

(8-3, 6-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 42-7 win over Murray State

Notable: JaVaughn Craig threw two touchdowns to DeAngelo Wilson and Prince Momodu scored twice on the ground as the Governors remained in a first-place tie with Southeast Missouri.

Next Game: Eastern Illinois (Nov. 23)


13. Wofford

(7-3, 6-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 24-7 win over Furman

Notable: Blake Morgan had a career-high 147 rushing yards and a touchdown as the Terriers made it seven straight FCS wins and clinched the SoCon’s automatic playoff bid.

Next Game: at The Citadel (Nov. 23)


14. Towson

(7-4, 4-3 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 31-10 win over William & Mary

Notable: Tom Flacco and Shane Leatherbury connected for two touchdown passes and the Tigers controlled over 39 minutes of game clock.

Next Game: Elon (Nov. 23)


15. Southeastern Louisiana

(7-3, 6-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 35-14 win over Abilene Christian

Notable: Donniel Ward-Magee and Tre’Spann had two interceptions apiece and the Lions finished with six overall to remain in a first-place tie with Central Arkansas and Nicholls, which it hosts Thursday night.

Next Game: Nicholls (Nov. 21)


16. Southeast Missouri

(8-3, 7-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 26-12 win over Eastern Illinois

Notable: Shabari Davis’ 46-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Redhawks the lead for good in the third quarter against stubborn EIU. Linebacker Zach Hall (12 tackles, sack, and an interception) had a dominating performance.

Next Game: Murray State (Nov. 23)


17. Nicholls

(7-4, 6-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 34-20 win over McNeese

Notable: Chase Fourcade passed for 374 yards and three touchdowns, including 55-yarders to Dion Ray and Dai’Jean Dixon.

Next Game: at Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 21)


18. Florida A&M

(9-1, 7-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 39-17 win over Howard

Notable: The Rattlers, ineligible for the MEAC title, will finish with the best record in the conference. They next look to complete their first unbeaten run since 1996.

Next Game: Bethune-Cookman in Orlando, Fla. (Nov. 23)


19. Furman

(7-4, 6-2 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 24-7 loss to Wofford

Notable: Wayne Anderson Jr. scored on a 63-yard run in the game’s first two minutes before Furman blew the chance to claim the SoCon’s automatic bid to the playoffs.

Next Game: Point (Nov. 23)


20. Dartmouth

(8-1, 5-1 Ivy)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 20-17 loss to Cornell

Notable: The Big Green lost their chance for a perfect season with a stunning loss. They’re now in a first-place tie with Yale.

Next Game: at Brown (Nov. 23)


21. Monmouth

(9-2, 5-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 47-10 win over Campbell

Notable: Running back Pete Guerriero racked up 303 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns as the Hawks clinched the Big South’s automatic playoff bid.

Next Game: Hampton (Nov. 23)


22. Kennesaw State

(9-2, 4-1 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 50-7 win over Hampton

Notable: The Owls forced five turnovers and quarterback Tommy Bryant had 233 yards of total offense with a TD run and pass.

Next Game: Gardner-Webb (Nov. 23)


23. North Dakota

(6-4 Independent)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 45-38 win over Northern Colorado

Notable: UND improved to 5-0 at home behind Nate Ketteringham’s 305 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.

Next Game: Southern Utah (Nov. 23)


24. Southern Illinois

(7-4, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 45-21 win over Western Illinois

Notable: SIU made it five straight wins behind a 388-yard ground assault. D.J. Davis (31 carries, 207 yards, 3 TDs) and Javon Williams Jr. (19-149-3) led the way.

Next Game: North Dakota State (Nov. 23)


25. Central Connecticut State

(10-1, 6-0 Northeast)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 49-28 win over Robert Morris

Notable: The Blue Devils clinched a playoff bid behind QB Aaron Winchester (five total TDs) and RB Danley Exilhomme (185 of the team's 389 rushing yards).

Next Game: at Duquesne (Nov. 23)


Just Missing: Albany (7-4, 5-2 CAA); North Carolina A&T (7-3, 5-2 MEAC); Yale (9-1, 5-1 Ivy)


— 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 James Madison Athletics)

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