FCS poll reactions: James Madison and North Dakota State stay 1-2, Youngstown State rises
Week 5 was as revealing as any this season when it comes to the national FCS landscape. Every team that entered the weekend ranked in the top 10 of the FCS Coaches Poll was in action, including four top-10 teams that faced a ranked opponent, highlighted by No. 4 South Dakota State versus T-No. 5 Youngstown State. When the dust settled, James Madison (5-0) and North Dakota State (4-0) remained at No. 1 and No. 2 the poll, respectively, but no other team in the country held its ranking after Week 5.
Sam Houston State (3-1) and South Dakota State (3-1), which had been among the national championship contenders ranked atop the poll at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, both dropped significantly in the latest poll.
Central Arkansas (3-1) defended its home turf against Sam Houston State, 41-30, as the Bears' defense held SHSU quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe to a 44 percent completion percentage and they intercepted him twice. South Dakota State climbed four spots to No. 8, while Sam Houston State fell eight spots to No. 11.
Youngstown State (3-1) flexed its muscles on defense, holding South Dakota State to just a touchdown in the Penguins' 19-7 win. The Jackrabbits managed just 222 yards of total offense, while the Penguins ran for 310 yards, led by Tevin McCaster's 35-rush, 183-yard performance on the ground. Youngstown State rose to No. 3, while South Dakota State dropped to No. 9. The Penguins are undefeated against FCS competition this season with their only loss coming against Pittsburgh in overtime in Week 1.
With the losses by two previously top-five teams, Jacksonville State, Wofford, South Dakota and Illinois State slid up the rankings, checking in at No. 4 through No. 7, respectively.
Jacksonville State handled its business against winless Tennessee Tech, 34-7. Wofford did the same against Presbyterian, 31-7. South Dakota kept its perfect record intact by surviving against a ranked Western Illinois team that scored 27 second-half points in a 38-33 defeat. Illinois State won a border battle against Indiana State, 24-13, behind quarterback Jake Kolbe's 345 passing yards.
Elsewhere in the top 25, The Citadel dropped six spots to No. 17 following a 35-14 loss to Samford in which the Bulldogs scored 28 points in the first quarter.
The final three teams included in the FCS Coaches Poll moved up from the "Receiving votes" category – No. 23 Elon, No. 24 Stony Brook and No. 25 Nicholls State.
In Week 6, Youngstown State will once again play in the premier game of the week. The Penguins will face No. 6 South Dakota on the road. No. 18 Western Illinois versus No. 21 Northern Iowa is the second-best game of the week, at least according to the FCS Coaches Poll rankings.