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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 2, 2018

A dominating week from the top 25 sees little change in the DII football poll

There was not a tremendous amount of change in the Week 5 DII football poll. While No. 2 Indiana (Pa.) was handed an upset by California (Pa.) in the Coal Bowl, the top 10 sees many familiar faces. 

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Minnesota State (28) 5-0 818 1
2 Grand Valley State (1) 5-0 778 3
3 Ferris State (4) 5-0 760 4
4 MSU Texas 5-0 731 5
5 West Georgia 5-0 686 6
6 Ouachita Baptist 5-0 631 7
7 Minnesota Duluth 5-0 571 8
8 Pittsburg State 5-0 544 10
9 Texas A&M-Commerce 4-1 529 9
10 Valdosta State 5-0 465 13
11 West Florida 4-1 463 11
12 Colorado School of Mines 5-0 459 T-14
13 West Chester 5-0 421 12
14 Indiana (Pa.) 4-1 410 2
15 Colorado State-Pueblo 4-1 382 16
16 Northwest Missouri State 4-1 341 17
17 Southern Arkansas 5-0 293 19
18 Fort Hays State 4-1 278 18
19 Harding 4-1 217 20
20 Notre Dame (OH) 5-0 190 23
21 Tarleton State 4-0 177 25
22 Indianapolis 3-1 160 22
23 Kutztown 4-0 61 NR
24 Azusa Pacific 4-1 55 NR
25 Central Washington 3-2 54 T-14

Let's take a look at what we learned about the top 25 this weekend.

Welcome to the top 10

No. 1 Minnesota State maintained its hold on the top spot in the poll with a dominating 45-10 victory over St. Cloud State this past Saturday. IUP’s loss allowed Grand Valley State to jump into the No. 2 spot. The Lakers are no stranger to being No. 2 as they entered 2017 there in last season’s preseason poll. Ferris State, MSU Texas, and West Georgia round out the top 5.

Pittsburg State continues its climb, jumping two spots to No. 8 after avoiding an upset by Lindenwood with an overtime victory. The win puts the Gorillas all alone atop a MIAA conference that has had four teams in the top 25 this season. Making its top 10 debut is Valdosta State, who leaped three spots from No. 13. The Blazers look unstoppable right now, as their 54.6 points per game tops DII football. 

MORE: TOP 25 WEEK 5 BY THE NUMBERS

Risers and fallers

Last week Tarleton State made its first appearance in the top 25 this season. This week, the Texans are the biggest risers.

Tarleton State jumped four spots to land at No. 21. The Texans have scored more than 40 points in three of their four games played this season and already have a big win against a West Texas A&M team that received votes this week after pulling a top 25 upset of Central Washington. With No. 3 MSU Texas and No. 9 Texas A&M-Commerce still on the schedule, this is the start Tarleton State needed to pose a threat to the two perennial Lone Star Conference contenders. With the Texans in the mix, the LSC should see an exciting finish.

Notre Dame College joined Valdosta State climbing three spots in this week’s poll. If you’re not paying attention to the Falcons freshman running back Jaleel McLaughlin yet, you are missing out. He posted his second 300-yard game of the season this past weekend as the Falcons moved to 5-0.

Indiana (Pa.) had the biggest fall this week, dropping 12 spots to No. 14. While the Crimson Hawks, on paper, lost to an unranked Vulcans team, this was still very much a team expected to compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference coming into the season. The Vulcans opened the season against two opponents that have appeared in the top 25 and lost by a combined eight points before ending IUP’s 21-game regular season winning streak with a 12-point victory. We may be seeing the team the Vulcans really are.

MORE: Cal stuns No. 2 IUP 36-24 ending its 21-game regular season winning streak 

Central Washington fell 11 spots this week. The Cougars suffered their first DII loss of the season, and second overall, as out-of-conference West Texas A&M visited Ellensburg, Washington and left winners in a two-point thriller.

Get to know...

Welcome Kutztown to the top 25. The Golden Bears are the lone team making their top 25 debut this week. Kutztown returns to the national rankings for the first time since September of 2012. It opened the season with an upset of then-No. 17 Assumption and pulled off a big victory against the Vulcans a week later. Now a perfect 4-0, the Golden Bears are in prime position to battle No. 13 West Chester in the PSAC East.

Kutztown has a balanced offense, led by quarterback Collin DiGalbo. He has four receivers with over 100 yards receiving on the season to choose from and joins Craig Reynolds and Abdul-Hassan Neblett with over 100 yards on the ground this season. Kutztown has come alive to open 2018 and the October 27 showdown with the Golden Rams at Andre Reed Stadium is looking like it will be a good one.

On watch

Sioux Falls began the season in the top 25 and has had a tough time getting back in after a one-point loss to then-No. 11 Winona State. That’s to no fault of its own as the Cougars have reeled off three straight wins earning the most votes outside the top 25. Gabriel Watson has been an absolute beast, racking up his second 200-yard game of the season this past weekend, and could be a driving force if Sioux Falls has postseason plans.

Tiffin is a curious case. The Dragons moved to 5-0 this past weekend in its debut season in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Tiffin, however, has a brutal final four weeks of the season, having to play Ohio Dominican, Hillsdale, and Findlay in a four-week span. That will be the Dragons big test of 2018 and those games will likely determine the G-MAC.

Speaking of G-MAC, how about Hillsdale? The Chargers have an exciting offense with Chance Stewart slinging it behind center to a deep receiving group featuring Konnor Maloney, Trey Brock, and Austin Sandusky, all with over 200 yards receiving and multiple touchdowns on the season. While they do have a loss on their record, the Chargers have a big 38-14 victory over G-MAC preseason favorite Ohio Dominican and head to Findlay this weekend for a huge matchup. Should Hillsdale come out victorious, that gives them wins against the big guns of the G-MAC and puts them in the driver’s seat for a conference title.