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Andy Wittry | | September 26, 2017

James Madison keeps No. 1 ranking, Illinois State rises

  James Madison earned 25 of a possible 26 first-place votes in the latest poll.

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.

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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.

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