football-fcs flag

Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | October 17, 2017

FCS poll reactions: JMU a consensus No. 1, SHSU rises

  James Madison is the No. 1 team for the eighth week in a row.

James Madison has been on top of the FCS Coaches Poll for eight weeks and now it's unanimous – the Dukes are the No. 1 team in the country. They received all 26 first-place votes following a 30-8 win over then-No. 11 Villanova.

The top six teams in the poll stayed in the same order as last week as they're a combined 34-2 on the season. North Dakota State (6-0), Jacksonville State (5-1), South Dakota (6-0), Wofford (6-0) and Central Arkansas (5-1) each received at least 500 votes, trailing JMU's perfect 650-vote total.

RELATED: The latest FCS Coaches Poll | Week 7 Scoreboard | Week 8 Scoreboard

Two teams in last week's top 10 fell, while two others rose in the rankings.

Youngstown State (3-3) dropped just one spot to No. 9 after taking North Dakota State to overtime, where the Penguins fell 27-24 after an admirable showing against the No. 2-ranked Bison. The game was tied after the second, third and fourth quarters, and the box score shows a similar story of two evenly matched teams. Neither side turned the ball over, there were just eight penalties called the entire game, and North Dakota State had a slight edge in total yards, 393-338.

Cam Pederson's 36-yard field goal proved to be the difference in this one, as the Bison proved they're once again national title contenders with an impressive road win against a top-10 opponent.

The Penguins are one of two ranked teams to have suffered three losses in the first seven weeks. The other is Villanova (4-3). 

South Dakota State (4-2) fell from No. 7 to No. 13 after suffering a 38-18 loss to Northern Iowa (3-3). After falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, the Jackrabbits had to play catch-up and were unable to convert on a pair of two-point conversion attempts in the second half.

Sam Houston State (5-1) and Eastern Washington (5-2), which were tied at No. 9 in the FCS Coaches Poll last week, moved up to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Sam Houston State had to rally in the fourth quarter for a 40-36, come-from-behind victory against Northwestern State. Eastern Washington used a balanced offensive attack – 227 rushing yards and 224 passing yards – to down Montana State 31-19.

Elsewhere in the poll, previously top-20 teams Weber State (4-2) and Illinois State (4-2) nearly fell out of the poll, dropping from No. 16 to No. 23 and No. 15 to No. 24, respectively. Southern Utah doubled up Weber State, 32-16, behind quarterback Patrick Tyler's 20-of-30 passing, 281-yard, three-touchdown performance. Illinois State was nearly shut out by Southern Illinois, 42-7, as the Salukis threw for nearly as many yards (368) and the Redbirds had of total offense (375).

Montana (5-2) is this week's only newcomer to the FCS Coaches Poll, appearing at No. 25 after a 41-7 drubbing of North Dakota.

After little movement from week to week at the top of the rankings, Week 8 could usher in some major changes in the polls. Three top-5 teams will face a ranked opponent this weekend.

No. 2 North Dakota State will host No. 12 Western Illinois, No. 4 South Dakota will travel to No. 24 Illinois State, and No. 5 Wofford will host No. 14 Samford. On the other hand, seven ranked teams will face an opponent in Week 8 that has one or fewer wins this season.

FCS football rankings: North Dakota State is No. 1 in 2019 preseason Coaches Poll

The 2019 FCS coaches' preseason top 25 poll was released with seven-time national champion North Dakota State claiming the No. 1 spot. Here are the key takeaways from the first poll of the year.
READ MORE

FCS preseason polls for every conference

Here is every preseason FCS conference poll heading into the 2019-20 regular season.
READ MORE

STATS FCS preseason All-American team includes nine returning first-teamers

The STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team blankets the nation with 98 players from 60 schools and at least three selections from all 13 FCS conferences.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners