September came to an end in exciting fashion this past Saturday. Three DII football top 25 teams dropped games in a week in which the top 10 once again dominated its opponents.
Two brand new teams join the top 25 party this week, while Valdosta State stays locked in at No. 1. Let's take a look at the latest AFCA top 25 rankings and then breakdown how the DII football top 25 stands after one month of play.
|1||Valdosta State (30)||4-0||774||1|
|2||Ferris State (1)||4-0||761||2|
|5||Notre Dame (OH)||4-0||636||5|
|7||Northwest Missouri State||4-0||621||7|
|9||Grand Valley State||4-0||539||9|
|13||Colorado School of Mines||4-0||437||14|
DII football rankings: The top 10 are a perfect 40-0
Valdosta State had no problem with Shorter this week, jumping out to a 28-7 lead by halftime. The Blazers racked up 44 points for the second week in a row and have dropped over 40 in three-straight weeks. That set the tone for another perfect week from the top 10, now a combined 40-0 on the season. Offense has been a big key for a bunch of the top 10 as Slippery Rock, Tarleton State, Northwest Missouri State are amongst the division's top 5 offenses, so far.
No. 4 Tarleton has so many weapons at its disposal and can beat you through the air and on the ground. Quarterback Ben Holmes is one of the most efficient passers in DII, while Zimari Manning is an absolute beast of a receiver, racking up 257 yards this past week. Daniel McCants and Khalil Banks make a formidable backfield duo that looks pretty unstoppable thus far helping the Texans score at least 49 points in each of the last three weeks.
Braden Wright has turned the usually defensive-minded Bearcats into an offensive powerhouse, leading the team to 52.0 points per game, a mark that is currently fourth-best in DII. Imoni Donadelle and LaTroy Harper are proving to be reliable targets, but it may be the addition of Justin Rankin in the run game that is giving Wright more freedom to become the passer he can be.
Speaking of top-flight passers, Slippery Rock's Roland Rivers III has The Rock rolling, scoring a DII-best 55.0 points per game. He's yet to throw for less than 300 yards in any of his four games and has 19 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Rivers III is also the team's leading rusher, but his receiving corps is deep with Henry Litwin, Jermaine Wynn, Jr. and Cinque Sweeting all recording at least 350 yards and six touchdowns so far this season.
Big matchups await in Week 5 for the DII top 25
With the addition of undefeated Angelo State to the poll, there are two top 25 matchups in Week 5.
The DII showcase game of the week will be in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. No. 3 Minnesota State puts its 28-game conference winning streak on the line against its rivals, No. 12 Minnesota Duluth. This is a battle between two of DII football's best individual players as well in the Mavericks running back Nate Gunn and the Bulldogs quarterback John Larson. It's also a matchup of the NSIC's leading scoring offense (Minnesota Duluth scores 40.5 per game) and best scoring defense (Minnesota State allows just 9.8 points per game). Let the chess match begin.
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No. 4 Tarleton will have its biggest test to date. The Texans welcome Angelo State to Stephenville, Texas in a battle of the last two overall undefeated teams in the Lone Star Conference. Tarleton already has signature wins against FCS Stephen F. Austin and West Texas A&M, while Angelo State handled Midwestern State a week ago, knocking the Mustangs from the top 25.
Grand Valley State has had some exciting finishes so far in 2019. The Lakers used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Delta State a couple of weeks ago and punched the game-winner in with just seconds remaining against Michigan Tech this past weekend. They welcome one of their GLIAC rivals Ashland — who began the season in the top 25 — this weekend in what is sure to be yet another thrilling battle.
And make sure you keep your eyes on Ferris State. The No. 2 team in DII football heads to Davenport to face a Panthers team that is currently undefeated. Is there an upset looming?
Risers, fallers, and newcomers in the DII rankings
There wasn't a ton of movement in this week's poll, especially with the top 10 remaining exactly the same. Pittsburg State continues its steady climb up the poll, up three to No. 15. Bowie State also jumped three spots with a dominating performance in Week 4, now sitting at No. 20.
Only two teams fell in the rankings this week. Texas A&M-Commerce dropped 10 spots from No. 11 to No. 21 after suffering a tough road loss to then-No. 20 CSU-Pueblo. The Thunder Bowl has proven to be one of the hardest places to come out victors, so the Lions will have plenty of time to get back up the top 25, especially with that LSC schedule still ahead. West Alabama dropped one spot, holding on to No. 25 this week. Midwestern State and Saginaw Valley State both fell from the top 25 entirely.
We've already discussed Angelo State, who enters the poll a perfect 4-0 at No. 23 this week after beating then-No. 15 Midwestern State, 28-6. Kutztown gives the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference its fourth team in the top 25. One of DII's very best road warriors — winners of its last 11 straight away from home — the new No. 24 team head to Bloomsburg this weekend in its first test as a ranked team in 2019.
How the DII conferences fared in the latest poll
There's a new king in town. With Kutztown joining the mix, the PSAC has four teams in the top 25, more than any other conference in DII football. The LSC and MIAA are still right behind with three apiece. The GLIAC has only two teams in the top 25, but both are inside the top 10.
Here's how the top 25 breaks down by conference.
|Conference||No. of schools||Schools|
|PSAC||4||Slippery Rock, West Chester, IUP, Kutztown|
|LSC||3||Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Angelo State|
|MIAA||3||Northwest Missouri State, Central Missouri, Pittsburg State|
|GAC||2||Ouachita Baptist, Harding|
|GLIAC||2||Ferris State, Grand Valley State|
|GSC||2||Valdosta State, West Alabama|
|NSIC||2||Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth|
|RMAC||2||CSU-Pueblo, Colorado School of Mines|
|MEC||1||Notre Dame (OH)|