FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 3

Solid group lines up between NDSU, James Madison, SDSU

It hasn't been a great season for FCS teams beating FBS opponents, but think of it this way, the top FCS teams are getting it done otherwise.


Among the top 20 teams in the Athlon FCS Power Poll, there are only three non-FBS losses through Week 3, and each occurred within that group of teams. The rest of the losses were against the FBS, and quite a few were close.


The top three teams in the Athlon FCS Power Poll have yet to change this season, but a particularly solid group has formed behind North Dakota State, James Madison, and South Dakota State.


Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 3 games:


1. North Dakota State

(3-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 47-22 win over Delaware

Notable: The Bison had seven sacks in their 24th straight win, which ties for the third-longest streak in FCS history. They outgained Delaware 268-29 while building a 27-5 halftime lead.

Next Game: UC Davis (Sept. 21)


2. James Madison

(2-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 63-12 win over Morgan State

Notable: The Dukes had three different quarterbacks pass for touchdowns (Ben DiNucci connected on four of the six) and the defense forced three turnovers.

Next Game: at Chattanooga (Sept. 21)


3. South Dakota State

(2-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 38-10 win over Drake

Notable: Wide receiver Cade Johnson had a 76-yard run to set up one of his two touchdown receptions from Kanin Nelson.

Next Game: Southern Utah (Sept. 21)


4. Towson

(3-0, 1-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 45-23 win over Maine

Notable: Like last season, Towson opened conference play with a top-10 win. Keon Paye's 73-yard pick-six was one of the Tigers’ four interceptions and Yeedee Thaenrat had four short TD runs.

Next Game: Villanova (Sept. 21)


5. UC Davis

(2-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 41-13 win over Lehigh

Notable: The Aggies prepped for their big trip to Fargo behind All-America quarterback Jake Maier (38 of 49 for 389 yards and four TDs).

Next Game: at North Dakota State (Sept. 21)


6. Weber State

(1-2, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 19-13 loss to Nevada

Notable: The Wildcats have scored only 56 points in their last six FBS opponents with this six-point loss adding to a 6-0 defeat at San Diego State to begin the season.

Next Game: Northern Iowa (Sept. 28)


7. Northern Iowa

(1-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Notable: Thoughts of a decline this season have been fended off by UNI, especially in the triple-overtime effort at Iowa State.

Next Game: Idaho State (Sept. 21)


8. Eastern Washington

(1-2, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 49-45 loss to Jacksonville State

Notable: The Eagles let a 45-28 lead after three quarters slip away. In defeat, Eric Barriere threw five touchdown passes, including a pair to Jayson Williams.

Next Game: at Idaho (Sept. 21)


9. Montana State


(2-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 23-14 win over Western Illinois

Notable: Bobcats senior running back Logan Jones entered the game with 309 career rushing yards, but had 167 yards and two touchdowns (one went for 87 yards) on 21 carries.

Next Game: Norfolk State (Sept. 21)


10. Maine

(1-2, 0-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 45-23 loss to Towson

Notable: Chris Ferguson was intercepted four times as the defending CAA champ was handled at home.

Next Game: at Colgate (Sept. 21)


11. Central Arkansas

(3-0, 1-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 31-30 win over Abilene Christian

Notable: In their home opener, the Bears took their first lead with 1:30 remaining – Hayden Ray’s PAT that followed a Carlos Blackman TD run.

Next Game: at Hawaii (Sept. 21)


12. Illinois State

(2-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 21-3 win over Eastern Illinois

Notable: James Robinson carried the ball 23 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns and the Redbirds limited EIU to 197 yards and a field goal.

Next Game: Northern Arizona (Sept. 21)


13. Furman

(1-2, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 24-17 loss to Virginia Tech

Notable: The Paladins have two FBS losses by a combined 13 points. Linebacker Braden Gilby had a game-high 12 tackles against the Hokies.

Next Game: Mercer (Sept. 21)


14. Kennesaw State

(2-1, 0-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

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

Notable: Six players went over 60 rushing yards as the Owls totaled 481 yards on the ground.

Next Game: at Missouri State (Sept. 21)


15. Southeastern Louisiana

(1-1, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 40-29 loss to Ole Miss

Notable: Ole Miss didn’t put the game away until the final minute, so head coach Frank Scelfo and the Lions have to like where they stand heading into Southland play.

Next Game: Lamar (Sept. 21)


16. Jacksonville State

(2-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 49-45 win over Eastern Washington

Notable: Zerrick Cooper had 337 yards of total offense and accounted for four touchdowns in a matchup of two of the four winningest FCS teams this decade.

Next Game: North Alabama (Sept. 21)


17. Montana

(2-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 35-3 loss to Oregon

Notable: Too much Justin Herbert (five touchdown passes) spelled doom for the Grizzlies, who had scored 92 points in their first two games. Jerry Louie-McGhee became the school’s all-time receptions leaders with 196.

Next Game: Monmouth (Sept. 21)


18. Nicholls

(1-1, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 42-35 win over Prairie View A&M

Notable: Quarterback Chase Fourcade accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) and the Colonels overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit with 29 straight points in the third quarter.

Next Game: at Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 21)


19. Villanova

(3-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 45-10 win over Bucknell

Notable: Villanova has beaten three Patriot League teams that are a combined 0-9. Justin Covington has gone over 100 rushing yards in each win.

Next Game: at Towson (Sept. 21)


20. North Carolina A&T

(2-1, 0-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 27-21 win over Charleston Southern

Notable: The close win over winless CSU wasn’t particularly impressive, but Jah-Maine Martin was with 299 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.

Next Game: Delaware State (Sept. 26)


21. Elon

(2-1, 1-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 42-20 win over Richmond

Notable: Davis Cheek passed for a career-high five touchdown passes to five different receivers.

Next Game: at Wake Forest (Sept. 21)


22. Youngstown State

(3-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 34-14 win over Duquesne

Notable: All three Penguins’ wins are by at least 20 points. The defense held Duquesne All-American A.J. Hines to 37 yards on 16 carries.

Next Game: Robert Morris (Sept. 28)


23. The Citadel

(1-2, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 27-24 OT win over Georgia Tech

Notable: Who knows how the Bulldogs will do in the rugged Southern Conference, but they tripped up Georgia Tech on Jacob Godek’s OT field goal after playing to seven-point losses against Towson and Elon. That’s a Top 25 resume.

Next Game: Charleston Southern (Sept. 21)


24. Southeast Missouri

(1-2, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 50-0 loss to Missouri

Notable: Yeah, ouch. The Redhawks need to stay out of SEC country, having been outgained 501-94. They were 2-for-18 on third-down conversion attempts.

Next Game: West Virginia State (Sept. 21)


25. Delaware

(2-1, 1-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 47-22 loss to North Dakota State

Notable: Backup quarterback Nolan Henderson was 9 of 12 for 125 yards and two touchdowns in relief of starter Pat Kehoe.

Next Game: Penn (Sept. 21)


Also Considered: McNeese (2-1), North Dakota (2-1), Yale (0-0)


— 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 ENP Photography)

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