clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FCS Top 25: Who Moved and What Changed in the National Rankings for Week 7

For the first time this year Fordham is in the Top 25. Who is joining them?

NCAA Football: Fordham at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

October is moving right along and the FCS national landscape is getting clearer and clearer. A new set of rankings came out on Monday and it’s as tough as ever to decide who will end up where. The CAA now has six teams in the Top 25 but the Big Sky and Missouri Valley are also well-represented. What do the voters have to say this week?

The Top 25

#1 North Dakota State (5-1) - Last Week: #1

Things weren’t pretty against Indiana State but what matters is that the Bison still won. There might be just a little reason for concern, though, as NDSU turned the ball over three times. If those mistakes don't get corrected in a hurry it could be tough against a South Dakota State team with a really good defense. Hunter Luepke, Cam Miller and company have one of the biggest games of the year this weekend in Fargo. The "Dakota Marker" showdown is almost here.

#2 South Dakota State (5-1) - Last Week: #2

You've got love where you are right now if you're SDSU. Winners of five straight and fresh off big victory over in-state rival South Dakota, John Stiegelmeier's team has to feel as though they have a real shot at the Bison this Saturday, even if it is on the road. Isaiah Davis is up to 626 rushing yards this fall (sixth best in the FCS) and now has three 100-yard games under his belt thanks to the 106 he put up against the Coyotes last week. The Jacks defense is allowing just over 12 points per contest and will look to keep that going against North Dakota State this Saturday.

#3 Montana (5-0) - Last Week: #3

The Griz got a week off and it was probably much needed after an odd showing in Pocatello. They’ll host Idaho this Saturday as they look to remain undefeated.

#4 Montana State (5-1) - Last Week: #4

The ‘Cats made it look easy against Idaho State last Saturday and they picked up a big boost with backup running back Lane Sumner returning to the lineup. Sumner ran for 100 yards while Sean Chambers extended his FCS-leading rushing touchdown number to 15 on the year. Montana State still is without its top running back Isaiah Ifanse and Tommy Mellott was also not playing last weekend but in the end MSU forced five turnovers and manhandled the Bengals to improve to 3-0 in Big Sky play and 5-0 against FCS competition. They’ll hit the road this week to take on Northern Colorado.

#5 Sacramento State (5-0) - Last Week: #5

Jake Dunniway and Cameron Skattebo were dynamite against Northern Colorado last Saturday night. The quarterback/running back duo accounted for 382 of Sac State’s 622 total offensive yards. The Hornets offense is well-oiled machine and its the main reason why they’re undefeated. It also helps when the defense can hold opponents to a mere nine first downs like they did to the Bears. Troy Taylor has build a contender and his team seems well on their way to competing for another Big Sky title this fall. They’ll hit the road to take on Eastern Washington in The Inferno this weekend.

#6 Weber State (5-0) - Last Week: #7

Weber State looks better and better with each passing week but last weekend’s win over Eastern Washington may have been the best yet. It was total domination as the Wildcats dismantled the Eagles to the tune of 45-21. The defense is second the country in picks with 11 and Maxwell Anderson is responsible for five. Two different WSU runners almost hit 100 yards with Damon Bankston (94) and Dontae McMillan (93). The duo accounted for three of the four rushing touchdowns and the special teams even registered a score. They’ll look to keep the momentum rolling against Portland State.

#7 Holy Cross (6-0) - Last Week: #9

The Crusaders continue to climb the rankings thanks to another big win. Holy Cross thumped Bucknell 57-0 for their largest margin of victory since 1987. Matthew Sluka threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. The defense throttled the Bison and allowed just 60 passing yards and not many more rushing. It was easily the most complete victory for the Crusaders so far this year and the team justly climbs to its highest position in the rankings its seen this fall. Right now they’re the only 6-0 in team in the country and now they’ll have a bye before taking on Lafayette.

#8-T Jackson State (5-0) - Last Week: #8

They’ll remain unbeaten but Jackson State’s win over Alabama State wasn’t quite as dominant as fans are used to seeing. Shedeur Sanders looked like his usual self, though, completing 30 of his 46 pass attempts for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders is now honing in on 2,000 for the season. The offense still looks scary but they did cough up an unusual fumble that directly led to a score. Other than that, though, Deion Sanders’ team is still the cream of the crop in the HBCU world. A road trip to take on Bethune-Cookman is next up.

#8-T Incarnate Word (5-1) - Last Week: #10

Lindsay Scott Jr. is this week’s FCS National Player of the Week and rightly so. He utterly torched Lamar as he threw for an outstanding seven touchdowns in the 56-17 win. The seven scores tied the program single-game record and the Cardinals offense was untouchable thanks to the play of the standout QB. What’s even more impressive is that Scott did all that in only a half of play. UIW is now set to take on a struggling Nicholls team as they look for their sixth win.

#10 Chattanooga (4-1) - Last Week: #11

The Mocs had a bye last week as they get ready to face VMI.

#11 William & Mary: (5-1) - Last Week: #16

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal William Bretzger/Delaware News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Depending on how the rest of this season plays out for William & Mary we may look back at last weekend’s upset over Delaware as a program-defining win. Either way, the Tribe picked up a massive victory in the CAA and now position themselves in the driver’s seat in the conference race. The Blue Hens were looking nearly impossible to beat but thanks to three defensive takeaways they got it done. The offense kept the ball out of Delaware’s hands for nearly 40 minutes and outgained them 423 to 331. All in all it was the biggest win of the year so far for W&M and now they’ll head into the bye week with a tremendous amount of confidence.

#12 Mercer (5-1) - Last Week: #12

Once again the Bears made light work of their opponent last week. Western Carolina had no answers for the Mercer offense that racked up 520 yards. Fred Payton continues to light it up in the passing game with three more touchdowns against the Catamounts. He’s up to 16 on the year now. The ball-hawking defense snagged four interceptions with Isaac Dowling accounting for half of them. It’s beginning to look the Bears offense can’t be stopped by anyone in the SoCon this year but ETSU will have their chance on Saturday.

#13 Delaware (5-1) - Last Week: #6

Many people thought Delaware was the best team in the CAA... and perhaps they still will be... but last Saturday William & Mary had other plans as they knocked the Blue Hens from the ranks of the unbeatens. It was an off day for UD’s usually-prolific offense. They coughed the ball up three times and, despite another solid outing from Nolan Henderson, they couldn’t muster up enough to defeat the Tribe. Kyron Cumby only toted the ball five times, his lowest number since Week 1, as he led the rushers with 53 yards. The Blue Hens will get a much-needed idle week as they prep for Morgan State.

#14 Elon (5-1) - Last Week: #14

The Phoenix have now won five in a row thanks to a 27-10 victory over Towson last week. Matthew McKay had his second-consecutive 300-yard passing game in as many weeks and the Elon defense held the Tigers to just 65 yards on the ground. That was thanks in large part to the three fumbles they forced. Not only are the Phoenix playing effective right now, they’re also playing disciplined too. They were only penalized four times for 35 total yards last Saturday. Up next is a big one with Rhode Island.

#15 Samford: (5-1) - Last Week: #13

Wofford is really not good this year and Samford did what it was supposed to against the lowly Terriers. The win margin may not have been as wide as some had hoped but Michael Hiers threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns while Kendall Watson paced the receivers with 10 catches for 83 yards and a score. There’s certainly some issues that need cleaned up as far as penalties are concerned but overall it was was a solid day for the Bulldogs. Now at 5-1, they’ll turn their sights to a ETSU in two weeks.

#16 Southern Illinois: (4-2) - Last Week: #17

The Salukis are right back in the thick of playoff talk after a bumpy start to the season. They’ve now reeled off four straight and knocked MVC foe Missouri State from the Top 25 after last week’s 38-21 win over the Bears. The Cox brothers were on fire as each notched a 100-yard receiving game. The twins accounted for 215 of Nic Baker’s 253 passing yards. Even more impressive, though, is how Southern Illinois’ defense was able to stymie Jason Shelley and the Missouri State offense. It’s been a month of big wins for SIU and now Western Illinois is on the docket.

#17 Villanova (3-2) - Last Week: #15

No game for Villanova last week. The Wildcats have had an extra week to prepare for their game against Richmond on Saturday.

#18 Southeast Missouri State (5-1) - Last Week: #21

SEMO keeps moving up after a win over Tennessee Tech last weekend. Paxton DeLaurent tossed three touchdowns in the victory and Ryan Flournoy had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. The Redhawks may be new favorites in the OVC right alongside UT Martin now. Running back Geno Hess only had 88 yards last week but his season total is up to 630. This offense is playing really well right now and the bye week is coming at a good time. In two weeks they’ll see Northwestern State.

#19 UT Martin (4-2) - Last Week: #18

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 UT Martin at Boise State Photo by Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Skyhawks are probably the best 4-2 team out there and yet they continue to hover around the 20-mark in the Top 25. They put a beatdown on Murray State behind a huge day from Dresser Winn. Winn threw for 439 yards and four different ball carriers all found the goal line against the Racers. Sam Franklin hit a season-high 157 rushing yards while receiver DeVonte Tanksley notched 220 receiving yards. It’s all clicking right now for the Skyhawks and they’ve got to feel good as they head into their bye. After that, though, is a really tough one; their second FBS matchup of the year with Tennessee.

#20 North Dakota (4-2) - Last Week: #22

Youngstown State rolled into town last week and gave the Hawks a run but a late turnover on downs gave UND its fourth win of the year. Suddenly North Dakota is a serious contender to be a playoff team down the line. Tommy Schuster is still playing mistake-free ball as a passer and Isaiah Smith had a big day rushing. They can’t rely on late defensive stops every week but they’ll have a bye now to tune things up. South Dakota State visits in a couple weeks for what will be a monster game.

#21 Richmond (3-2) - Last Week: #23

The Spiders have to be happy with moving up two spots in the rankings despite not even having a game last week. Villanova is waiting.

#22 Fordham (5-1) - Last Week: NR

It’s about time Fordham finds its way into the Top 25. After being on the cusp for weeks, the Rams finally break through. Quarterback Tim DeMorat is playing at an insane level right now has he leads all D1 passers with 2,652 yards and has a whopping 30 touchdowns under his belt already. He lit it up against Lehigh last week for four touchdowns and nearly 500 yards through the air. His receivers are also really, really good. Fotis Kokosioulis and MJ Wright are the FCS’ #1 and #2 pass-catchers respectively with 770 and 606 yards. The duo has combined for 13 touchdowns. There’s no promises that the Patriot League will send two to the postseason this year but Fordham seems to be making that a possibility more and more. Up next is Stony Brook.

#23 Eastern Kentucky (3-2) - Last Week: #25

EKU had the week off but still rises a little in the polls thanks to shifting elsewhere. On deck is a date with Sam Houston.

#24 Austin Peay (4-2) - Last Week: NR

The Govs will climb back into the rankings after dipping out last week. They didn’t have a game but enough other things happened to land them back in the Top 25. Now they get ready for Murray State.

#25-T Rhode Island (3-2) - Last Week: NR

Rhode Island hasn’t been in the polls since early September but they’re finally back now despite having an off week. The Rams are prepping for a big matchup with Elon on Saturday.

#25-T Southeastern Louisiana (3-3) - Last Week: #19

It was not the week Frank Scelfo and his team had in mind when they welcomed in FCS newbie Texas A&M-Commerce. SLU’s defense gave up nearly 500 yards and quarterback Eli Sawyer, who’s playing in place of the injured Cephus Johnson, couldn’t find the end zone. Carlos Washington Jr. did have three rushing scores but it wasn’t enough to stave off their new Southland foes. The road won’t get any easier for the Lions after their upcoming bye week as they face a trip to take on FBS-transitioning Jacksonville State.

Dropped Out

Missouri State (2-4) - Last Week: #20

The Bears are in the midst of a really bad slide right now. After a 2-0 start, Missouri State has lost four in a row and will slip out of the rankings for the first time this season. Jason Shelley struggled against Southern Illinois last weekend as he threw two interceptions and didn’t even pass the 200-yard passing mark; a rarity for him. There’s still time to turn this around but it absolutely needs to start right now and it certainly seems as though the Bears can’t afford to even lose one more down the stretch. They’ll have a week to get things right before taking on Northern Iowa.

Eastern Washington (1-4) - Last Week: #24

The tough schedule was finally enough to plummet Eastern Washington from the Top 25 this week. Weber State held the Eagles in check for much of Saturday evening and now Aaron Best’s team is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2019. Gunner Talkington is still throwing the ball okay but the defense has just not been able to stand up to the stout competition. If EWU can win out then there’s a chance they could still make a run to the playoffs but that’s going to be a tall order as they have to host a very deadly Sacramento State team this weekend.