FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 9

North Dakota State, James Madison cement 1-2 spots in best schedule of the season

If you go back to the FCS buffet line for second or third helpings, don't worry, we're on our sixth trip.


Saturday's schedule was the best of the regular season, with North Dakota State and South Dakota State exceeding expectations as the highlight in one big matchup after another. We couldn't get enough.


Here's the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 9 games:


1. North Dakota State

(8-0, 4-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 23-16 win over South Dakota State

Notable: Adam Cofield’s 71-yard touchdown run with 2:32 left provided the Bison their 29th straight win and sole possession of first place in the MVFC.

Next Game: at Youngstown State (Nov. 2)


2. James Madison

(8-1, 5-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 27-10 win over Towson

Notable: The Dukes are surrendering an FCS-low 67.3 rushing yards per game and less than 2.3 yards per carry. Defensive end John Daka added another 2.5 sacks to his season total.

Next Game: at New Hampshire (Nov. 9)


3. Weber State

(6-2, 4-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 36-20 win over UC Davis

Notable: The Wildcats held UC Davis All-America quarterback Jake Maier to a career-low 160 passing yards (he was below 100 midway through the fourth quarter). Trey Tuttle kicked five field goals in the win.

Next Game: at Sacramento State (Nov. 2)


4. South Dakota State

(6-2, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 23-16 loss to North Dakota State

Notable: The Jackrabbits were great hosts for ESPN’s “College GameDay” and gave NDSU its closest game since the Dakota Marker matchup in September 2018. They wound up utilizing three quarterbacks after starter J’Bore Gibbs suffered a knee injury in the first quarter.

Next Game: at Missouri State (Nov. 2)


5. Sacramento State

(6-2, 4-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 38-14 win over Cal Poly

Notable: Running back Elijah Dotson had 226 yards from scrimmage, including 176 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Next Game: Weber State (Nov. 2)


6. Montana

(6-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 34-17 win over Eastern Washington

Notable: Marcus Knight had 131 of Montana’s 254 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns.

Next Game: at Portland State (Nov. 2)


7. Kennesaw State

(7-1, 2-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 41-17 win over North Alabama

Notable: The Owls didn’t complete a pass, but ran for 490 yards and six touchdowns, led by quarterback Daniel David (19 carries, 111 yards, three TDs).

Next Game: Monmouth (Nov. 2)


8. Northern Iowa

(5-3, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 29-6 win over Missouri State

Notable: Isaiah Weston (five receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns) has surpassed 100 receiving yards in each MVFC game.

Next Game: at Illinois State (Nov. 2)


9. Central Arkansas

(6-2, 4-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 29-25 win over Sam Houston State

Notable: UCA never led until Tyler Hudson caught Breylin Smith’s fourth touchdown pass with 3:57 remaining to play. The Bears grabbed first place in the Southland.

Next Game: at Lamar (Nov. 2)


10. Furman

(5-3, 4-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 28-7 win over Western Carolina

Notable: The Paladins rebounded from its first SoCon loss to move back into a first-place tie with Wofford. Devin Wynn rushed for two touchdowns.

Next Game: at Chattanooga (Nov. 2)


11. Illinois State

(6-2, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 24-7 win over Indiana State

Notable: James Robinson (20 carries, 180 yards, two touchdowns) is 4-for-4 in posting 100-yard performances on Homecoming Day at Hancock Stadium.

Next Game: Northern Iowa (Nov. 2)


12. Dartmouth

(6-0, 3-0 Ivy)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 59-24 win over Columbia

Notable: Tied 10-10, the Big Green scored 42 straight points in a 13-minute, 37-span of the second and third quarters.

Next Game: at Harvard (Nov. 2)


13. Villanova

(6-2, 3-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 36-35 loss to Stony Brook

Notable: The Wildcats let a 35-20 lead slip away in the final five minutes. Daniel Smith threw a touchdown pass and caught one for a 68-yard score.

Next Game: at New Hampshire (Nov. 2)


14. Princeton

(6-0, 3-0 Ivy)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 30-24 win over Harvard

Notable: Senior Kevin Davidson threw three touchdown passes, giving him 18 against only two interceptions this season.  

Next Game: at Cornell (Nov. 1)


15. North Carolina A&T

(5-2, 3-1 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 64-6 win over Howard

Notable: True freshman linebacker Jacob Roberts racked up 15 tackles and two sacks in the rout.

Next Game: at South Carolina State (Nov. 2)


16. North Dakota

(5-3 Independent)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 16-12 win over Montana State

Notable: The Fighting Hawks are 4-0 at home, including wins over Sam Houston State, UC Davis and now the Bobcats.

Next Game: at Weber State (Nov. 9)


17. Montana State

(5-3, 2-2 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 16-12 loss to North Dakota

Notable: Two-way player Troy Andersen had 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks and scored from a yard out for the Bobcats’ only touchdown.

Next Game: Southern Utah


18. Elon

(4-4, 3-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 38-13 win over Rhode Island

Notable: The Phoenix had five takeaways and scored the final 28 points. They’ve won their last two games by 60 points.

Next Game: William & Mary (Nov. 2)


19. Sam Houston State

(5-4, 4-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 18

Last Week’s Result: 29-25 loss to Central Arkansas

Notable: In the loss, Donovan Williams carried the ball 33 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns and Nathan Stewart had his 20th career game with at least 100 receiving yards.

Next Game: at Abilene Christian (Nov. 9)


20. Florida A&M

(7-1, 5-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 24-12 win over Morgan State

Notable: Terry Jefferson returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown to highlight the Rattlers’ win. They have the best record in the MEAC, but are ineligible for the conference title due to NCAA APR sanctions.

Next Game: Delaware State (Nov. 2)


21. Austin Peay

(5-3, 3-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 58-21 win over Tennessee Tech

Notable: JaVaughn Craig threw five touchdown passes, including a pair to DeAngelo Williams.

Next Game: at Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 2)


22. Southeast Missouri

(5-3, 4-1 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 17-10 win over UT Martin

Notable: The Redhawks managed only 263 offensive yards, but the game-winning score came on Omardrick Douglas’ 32-yard interception return with 5:32 left to play.

Next Game: at Tennessee State (Nov. 2)


23. Nicholls

(4-4, 3-2 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 37-31 OT loss to Abilene Christian

Notable: The Colonels’ time of possession was only 23 minutes, 13 seconds because they turned the ball over four times while suffering their second straight conference loss.

Next Game: at UIW (Nov. 2)


24. Stony Brook

(5-3, 2-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 36-35 win over Villanova

Notable: Stony Brook won on a walk-off with Nick Courtney kicking a game-ending, 22-yard field goal. Quarterback Tyquell Fields accounted for three touchdowns in the win.

Next Game: at Richmond (Nov. 2)


25. The Citadel

(5-4, 3-2 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 35-24 win over Mercer

Notable: With three straight wins, the Bulldogs hope to be making a run — literally a run in the triple-option offense — to a playoff bid. They have wins over Georgia Tech and Furman, but a shaky resume — like everybody else in the Top 25-35 range of teams.

Next Game: at ETSU (Nov. 2)


Just Missing: Central Connecticut State (7-1, 3-0 Northeast) and Wofford (5-2, 4-1 Southern)


— 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 University of Central Arkansas Athletics)

Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: