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Southern Conference | October 20, 2014

Sacred Heart, Bryant crack FCS rankings

  The NEC landed two teams in the FCS Coaches' Poll for the first time in Sacred Heart and Bryant.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- North Dakota State remained perfect on the field and in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches' Poll this week. The Bison improved to 7-0 on the season and were once again voted as the unanimous No. 1 pick.

NDSU garnered all 26 first-place votes for a total of 650 points. The Bison topped then-No. 23 Indiana State 31-17 to extend its FCS-record winning streak to 31 games overall. North Dakota State also won its 18th consecutive home game thanks to a balance attack that saw receiver Zach Vraa catch two touchdowns and running back John Crockett rush for a pair. NDSU held the ball for more than 41 minutes in the contest and racked up 24 first downs in the rather one-sided affair.

Complete Poll
Eastern Washington held steady in second place with 623 points. The Eagles recorded a 26-18 victory against Northern Colorado to go to 7-1 on the season. The EWU defense forced an interception late in the fourth quarter that allowed to the Eagles to run out the clock and claim the victory.

Coastal Carolina was once again third in the poll, earning 588 points this week. The Chanticleers were idle last week but are back in action this week, hosting Charleston Southern on Saturday. Villanova and New Hampshire remained steady, rounding out the top five at fourth and fifth, respectively. Villanova edged out No. 18 William & Mary 35-31 to improve to 6-1 on the year. 

The rest of the top 10 remained stagnant as well. Montana and Jacksonville State came in sixth and seventh, respectively. Southeastern Louisiana came in eighth and Illinois State held at No. 9 after improving to 6-0 on the year. The Red Birds are one of just four undefeated teams in the top 25, alongside North Dakota State, Coastal Carolina and Harvard. McNeese State earned a 31-20 victory against Abilene Christian to find itself 10th for the second consecutive week.

Two new teams entered the top 25 this week. Sacred Heart entered the rankings for the first time this season, coming in at No. 22. The Pioneers defeated Duquesne 23-20 thanks to a 12-yard touchdown pass with just 23 seconds remaining. Bryant reenters the top 25 for the first time since September 15. The Bulldogs came in at No. 25 after improving to 5-1 on Saturday with a 42-27 win against St. Francis (Pa.).

Eleven different conferences represented among the 25 teams, the highest total this season. The Missouri Valley Football Conference once again led all conferences with seven teams in the top 25. The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) put four teams in the top 25 while the Big Sky had three teams in the rankings.

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