FCS poll reactions: James Madison keeps No. 1 spot, Illinois State rises
Through the first four weeks of the football season, the top four teams in the latest FCS Coaches Poll remain unbeaten. In what has become a weekly tradition this fall, James Madison has earned a majority of the first-place votes – this week 25 of a possible 26 – after the Dukes' 4-0 start. Only No. 13 North Carolinta A&T has as many wins without a loss.
North Dakota State (3-0), Sam Houston State (3-0) and South Dakota State (3-0) remain in a holding pattern behind James Madison, checking in at No. 2 through No. 4, respectively. Seven of the top 10 teams in last week's poll remained there, while Richmond, Villanova and The Citadel dropped in the rankings.
No. 15 Richmond (2-2) and No. 17 Villanova (2-2) each dropped nine spots after suffering their second losses of the season. The Spiders endured a 36-33 loss to Elon, while the Wildcats dropped a 19-10 overtime contest to Albany.
Replacing them in the back end of the top 10 are T-No. 8 Illinois State, T-No. 8 Eastern Washington and No. 10 South Dakota.
The Redbirds jumped four spots after a 34-9 win against Missouri State that was fueled by a stout defensive performance and an efficient passing day from quarterback Jake Kolbe (24-of-32, 315 yards, one touchdown).
The Eagles won a high-scoring affair with Montana, 48-41, as quarterback Gage Gubrud completed 44-of-65 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns as Eastern Washington rallied from a 24-6 deficit at halftime.
The latest FCS Coaches Poll sets up several enticing matchups in Week 5 that should provide some clarity atop the rankings.
T-No. 5 Youngstown State (2-1) hosts No. 4 South Dakota State (3-0), No. 3 Sam Houston State (3-0) travels to No. 12 Central Arkansas (2-1), No. 10 South Dakota (3-0) faces a road test against No. 16 Western Illinois (3-0), and No. 11 Citadel (3-0) will go on the road to play No. 23 Samford (2-2). It's entirely possible three top-10 teams, including two in the top five, could lose in Week 5.