FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 13

As postseason arrives, North Dakota State and James Madison are still the teams to beat

The FCS playoffs appear to be setting up as a showdown between North Dakota State and James Madison in the championship.


Everybody else, come and get them.


Yeah, easier said than done.


With conference champs still basking in the glory and 24 teams in the playoff field, there's optimism everywhere, even if NDSU and JMU have been ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, since the preseason.


Here's the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 13 games and heading toward the postseason:


1. North Dakota State

(12-0, 8-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 21-7 win over Southern Illinois

Notable: The Bison have matched their 2012-14 teams with an FCS-record 33-game winning streak since 2017. Adam Cofield and Trey Lance rushed for second-half touchdowns after SIU was even 7-7 at halftime.

Next Game: North Dakota-Nicholls winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


2. James Madison

(11-1, 8-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 55-21 win over Rhode Island

Notable: In outrushing an opponent for the 16th straight game, the Dukes’ advantage was an absurd 390 to negative-six (-6). Jawon Hamilton (nine carries, 143 yards, TD) and Percy Agyei-Obese (22-105-2) led the offensive assault.

Next Game: Holy Cross-Monmouth winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


3. Weber State

(9-3, 7-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 38-10 win over Idaho State

Notable: Jake Constantine passed for 289 yards and four touchdowns, giving Weber State a share of its third straight Big Sky title. The Wildcats are the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

Next Game: Kennesaw State-Wofford winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


4. Sacramento State

(9-3, 7-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

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

Notable: Back from injury, quarterback Kevin Thomson (416 yards of total offense, three total TDs) is rounding back into form for the Hornets’ first playoff appearance.

Next Game: Furman-Austin Peay winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


5. Montana State

(9-3, 6-2 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 48-14 win over Montana

Notable: The Bobcats made it four straight wins in the Brawl of the Wild as Isaiah Ifanse (21 carries, 171 yards, three TDs) and a dominating offensive line led a 382-yard ground assault.

Next Game: Central Connecticut State-Albany winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


6. Montana

(9-3, 6-2 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 48-14 loss to Montana State

Notable: The Griz held the ball for only 22 minutes, 52 seconds and were outgained by Montana State 488 yards to 241. Marcus Knight’s two touchdowns give him 21 heading into the playoffs.

Next Game: Villanova-Southeastern Louisiana winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


7. Northern Iowa

(8-4, 6-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 38-7 win over Western Illinois

Notable: A week after falling 38-7 to South Dakota State, UNI reversed the score behind Will McElvain’s two TD passes and Trevor Allen’s pair of TD rushes.

Next Game: San Diego in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


8. Central Arkansas

(9-3, 7-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 52-35 win over UIW

Notable: Breylin Smith threw three of his five touchdown passes to Tyler Hudson as the Bears earned a share of the Southland title.

Next Game: Illinois State-Southeast Missouri winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


9. Villanova

(9-3, 5-3 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 55-33 win over Delaware

Notable: Daniel Smith accounted for 422 yards of offense and six touchdowns and the Wildcats posted their highest point total in the Delaware series. Changa Hodge caught eight passes for 236 yards and four TDs.

Next Game: at Southeastern Louisiana in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


10. South Dakota State

(8-4, 5-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 loss to South Dakota

Notable: The Jackrabbits enter the playoffs with losses in three of their last five games and have a minus-eight turnover margin in their four defeats.

Next Game: San Diego-Northern Iowa winner in FCS second round (Dec. 7)


11. Austin Peay

(9-3, 7-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 35-7 win over Eastern Illinois

Notable: The Governors are in the playoffs for the first time as OVC co-champs. JaVaughn Craig’s five total TDs (three passing, two rushing) fueled the clinching win.

Next Game: Furman in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


12. Wofford

(8-3, 7-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 31-11 win over The Citadel

Notable: Nathan Walker rushed for 94 yards and the game’s first two touchdowns in the SoCon champ Terriers’ eighth straight FCS win.

Next Game: Kennesaw State in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


13. Southeast Missouri

(9-3, 7-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 31-24 win over Murray State

Notable: Daniel Santacaterina threw two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Redhawks to a share of the OVC title and into the playoffs for a second straight year.

Next Game: Illinois State in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


14. Nicholls

(8-4, 7-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 28-27 win over Southeastern Louisiana

Notable: The Colonels claimed a share of the Southland title for the second consecutive season. Dai’Jean Dixon had 190 receiving yards and three touchdown catches at Southeastern, including a 57-yarder with 1:30 left followed by Gavin Lasseigne’s pivotal PAT.

Next Game: North Dakota in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


15. Monmouth

(10-2, 6-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 48-13 win over Hampton

Notable: Kenji Bahar (364 passing yards, four TDs) and Pete Guerriero (240 rushing yards, two TDs) both completed Monmouth, er, mammoth regular seasons.

Next Game: Holy Cross in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


16. Furman

(8-4, 6-2 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 64-7 win over Point

Notable: Quarterback Darren Grainger returned to the starting lineup and had a touchdown run and pass in the rout.

Next Game: at Austin Peay in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


17. Dartmouth

(9-1, 6-1 Ivy)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 29-23 win over Brown

Notable: The Big Green claimed a share of the Ivy League title (with Yale) behind Derek Kyler’s career-high 303 yards four touchdowns through the air.

Next Game: Season complete


18. Kennesaw State

(10-2, 5-1 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 42-14 win over Gardner-Webb

Notable: Quarterback Tommy Bryant impressed again with 22 carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls have reached at least 10 wins in three straight seasons.

Next Game: at Wofford in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


19. Illinois State

(8-4, 5-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 21-3 loss to Youngstown State

Notable: As the Redbirds replaced injured quarterback Brady Davis, Bryce Jefferson and Jack Baltz went a combined 3-for-16 for 30 yards and three interceptions.

Next Game: at Southeast Missouri in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


20. North Dakota

(7-4 Independent)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 36-18 win over Southern Utah

Notable: Nate Ketteringam had two touchdown passes in the first half and Luke Skokna scored twice on the ground in the second half as UND improved to 6-0 at home.

Next Game: at Nicholls in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


21. Albany

(8-4, 6-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 31-26 win over Stony Brook

Notable: The Great Danes built a 24-0 lead before holding off Stony Brook to finish second in the CAA. Each of their two FCS losses have come by just three points.

Next Game: Central Connecticut State in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


22. Towson

(7-5, 4-4 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 25-23 loss to Elon

Notable: The Tigers fell on a last-minute field goal, costing them a playoff bid. Tom Flacco was 15-of-27 for 214 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in his final game.

Next Game: Season complete


23. Southeastern Louisiana

(7-4, 6-3 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 28-27 loss to Nicholls

Notable: Despite a frustrating loss to Nicholls, including both a missed extra point try and QB Cole Kelley fumbling outside the Nicholls goal line with less than three minutes to play, top-10 wins over Jacksonville State and Central Arkansas boosted the Lions’ playoff resume.

Next Game: Villanova in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


24. Central Connecticut State

(11-1, 7-0 Northeast)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 43-10 win over Duquesne

Notable: Danley Exilhomme rushed for two touchdowns and his brother D.J. scored on an 87-yard interception return.

Next Game: at Albany in FCS first round (Nov. 30)


25. Florida A&M

(9-2, 7-1 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 31-27 loss to Bethune-Cookman

Notable: Record-setting QB Ryan Stanley passed for 213 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions in FAMU's ninth straight loss to Bethune in the Florida Classic. With no postseason ahead, this could be a precarious ranking for the Rattlers.

Next Game: Season complete


Just Missing: North Carolina A&T (8-3, 6-2 MEAC); Southern Illinois (7-5, 5-3 Missouri Valley); 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.


(NDSU huddle photo courtesy of Delaware Athletics)

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