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Joe Boozell | | October 9, 2018

FCS football rankings: Kennesaw State up to No. 2, James Madison falls in newest poll

Defense shines in FCS top plays

Here’s a look at the newest FCS Coaches Poll after another week of action:

1 North Dakota State (26) 5-0 650 1
2 Kennesaw State 5-1 614 3
3 Eastern Washington 5-1 592 T-4
4 Wofford 4-1 535 6
5 South Dakota State 3-1 533 T-4
6 Elon 4-1 528 9
7 Jacksonville State 4-1 483 8
8 James Madison 4-2 449 2
9 McNeese 5-1 438 10
10 North Carolina A&T 5-1 413 11
11 Nicholls 4-2 388 12
12 Illinois State 4-1 344 14
13 Weber State 3-2 323 7
14 Sam Houston State 3-2 303 16
15 Rhode Island 4-1 283 17
16 Central Arkansas 3-2 222 18
17 Colgate 5-0 200 20
18 Towson 4-1 195 24
19 UC Davis 4-1 193 21
20 Stony Brook 4-2 149 13
21 Princeton 4-0 130 23
22 Maine 3-2 125 25
23 Montana 4-2 104 15
24 East Tennessee State 5-1 72 NR
25 Villanova 3-3 46 19

We’ll start with Kennesaw State, which inched up a spot to No. 2 after a 56-0 win over Presbyterian. The Owls have plenty of offensive firepower, and they were just one of a few teams with a worthy case to snag the No. 2 spot after James Madison’s loss (more on that soon).

Kennesaw State edged Eastern Washington by 22 points; Wofford and South Dakota State weren't far behind at Nos. 4 and 5. But the Owls have dominated during stretches this season, and they’re the scariest team of that group. Kennesaw State is averaging 52.5 points in its last five games and hasn't allowed more than 13 points during that stretch. The Owls are an extremely well-rounded team and have essentially been untouchable since an opening loss to Georgia State. What a story they've been.

MORE: Full FCS scores

If we’re breaking this poll down in tiers, North Dakota State is in a class of its own followed by Kennesaw State, Eastern Washington, Wofford and South Dakota State. But Elon, which rose three spots to No. 6 this week, is charging. The Phoenix upset James Madison over the weekend, the most significant result in FCS action. Elon did it behind running back Malcolm Summers, who ran 20 times for 186 yards and a touchdown. The Phoenix's run defense, meanwhile, held JMU to 2.6 yards per carry.

The final score was 27-24. Not much separates these two teams, and good on voters for only lowering James Madison to eighth. Both programs have the goods to win it all, and their competitive matchup should only inspire further confidence.

MORE: FCS home

Weber State was another team that fell this week after a surprising loss to Northern Arizona. The Wildcats dropped  from No. 7 to No. 13 after a 28-24 loss, and Montana dropped from No. 15 to No. 24 after a setback against Portland State. These results just go to show you: there’s a ton of parity in the FCS. There are only three undefeated teams in the top 25, and after North Dakota State, there’s not another unbeaten to pop up until Colgate at No. 17. So while no team wants to lose, of course, a loss or two isn’t totally damaging. It’s all about who gets hot at the end of the season.

Another team to highlights: Princeton, which rose to No. 21. Princeton doesn’t have the strength of schedule of some of these other teams, but the Tigers haven’t lost yet and have destroyed everyone in their path. They’ve won every game by 35 points or more. It will be interesting to see what Princeton can do once it faces tougher competition.

Everyone is shooting for North Dakota State, the only unbeaten in the top 10. But it’s plenty of fun to watch the weekly madness ensue beneath the Bison.

No. 2 Wake Forest falls to Elon for first time in 11 years

No. 2 Wake Forest fell to in-state opponent Elon on Tuesday night for the first time in 11 years.

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