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Wayne Cavadi | | October 8, 2019

College football rankings: How the DII top 25 stands after five weeks

DII Football plays of the week

A thrilling come-from-behind upset in Allendale, Michigan led to a shakeup in the top 10 of the Week 5 DII football poll. While Valdosta State maintained its clutch on the No. 1 spot in the country — now winners of 20-straight football games — the top 25 looks a little different this week.

WEEK 5 IN REVIEW: Players of the week | Complete schedule and results 

Let's take a look at the complete AFCA poll and break down this week's rankings.

Rank School Record Points Previous
1 Valdosta State (30) 5-0 797 1
2 Ferris State (1) 5-0 761 2
3 Minnesota State 5-0 733 3
4 Tarleton State (1) 5-0 708 4
T-5 Notre Dame (OH) 5-0 633 5
T-5 Ouachita Baptist  5-0 633 6
7 Northwest Missouri State 5-0 610 7
8 Lenoir-Rhyne 5-0 587 8
9 Slippery Rock 5-0 524 10
10 Indianapolis 5-0 523 11
11 Colorado School of Mines 5-0 486 13
12 West Chester 5-0 411 14
13 Pittsburg State 5-0 406 15
14 Wingate 5-0 362 16
15 Central Missouri 5-0 352 17
16 Indiana (Pa.) 5-0 288 19
17 CSU-Pueblo 4-1 262 18
18 Bowie State 5-0 236 20
19 Grand Valley State 4-1 211 9
20 Texas A&M-Commerce 3-1 174 21
21 Kutztown 5-0 161 24
22 Harding 4-1 158 22
23 Minnesota Duluth 4-1 127 12
24 Truman State 5-0 101 NR
25 West Florida 4-1 53 NR

Minnesota State and Tarleton impress in Week 5

Minnesota State and Tarleton both rolled into Week 5 with the only two top 25 matchups of the week. The No. 3 Mavericks put their 28-game conference win streak on the line against then-No. 12 Minnesota Duluth, while the Texans had their 10-game home winning streak in jeopardy with the red-hot Angelo State coming to town.

Both walked away victorious, and in quite the dominating fashion as well.

The Mavericks put the Bulldogs away early and never looked back. Nate Gunn did Nate Gunn things, recording his fifth 100-yard game in as many chances while becoming the school's leading rusher and touchdown scorer in history. Wide receiver Shane Zylstra had his 2019 breakout performance as well, going off for 220 yards and three touchdowns. But it was the NSIC's top scoring defense that stifled the NSIC's top-scoring offense in the 52-7 victory that showed just how balanced and potent the Mavericks are.

The Texans have been one of the most electric offenses all season. They were leading DII in total yards heading into Week 5 and were also in the top 5 in scoring. All of those trends continued against Angelo State as Tarleton racked up 423 total yards and 30 points in the 17-point win. Credit to Angelo State, playing a tough first half and keeping it close, but the Texans pulled away in the second half. Minnesota State and Tarleton may be No. 3 and No. 4, but they are playing as well as anyone in DII football right now. 

STUNNER: Watch Ashland's 52-yard Hail Mary sink No. 9 Grand Valley State at the whistle

What lies ahead for the top 25 in Week 6

There will be no shortage of excitement in Week 6. Two nationally-ranked teams have to face off against very underrated offenses, while two top 25 matchups are certain to change the landscape of the rankings. And don't forget the Battle of the Valleys and the DII football showcase game down in the Lone Star Conference.

No. 7 Northwest Missouri State and No. 13 Pittsburg State should be the game of the week. This MIAA rivalry heads to Arrowhead Stadium, giving it the grand scale it deserves. Both teams are in the top 15, and there is no love lost between the two. The Bearcats saw their 38-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Gorillas two years ago, so there is plenty of history in this one.

No. 16 Indiana (Pa) and No. 9 Slippery Rock is the other top 25 showdown in Week 5. This one features two of the more fun quarterbacks in DII football. The Rock's Roland Rivers III is averaging 381.2 yards per game with 24 touchdowns and just one turnover. Quinton Maxwell is breaking out for IUP. The Crimson Hawks started the season outside the top 25 with a changing of the guard under center, but the Ohio transfer is gelling with his new team.

Notre Dame (OH) and Bowie State look to stay undefeated, but can't sleep on their opponents this week. Bowie State hosts Chowan and the No. 9 total offense in DII football, while Notre Dame travels to Charleston (WV) to take on a team that has put up 443.4 yards per game this season with relative ease. 

Grand Valley State suffered a heartbreaking loss at the final whistle against Ashland and it won't get any easier this week. A 4-1 Saginaw Valley State team — one that was in the top 25 just two weeks ago — heads to Allendale where the Lakers will be looking to jump back up the rankings with a signature win in the Battle of the Valleys.

Midwestern State has hit a rough patch, falling from the top 25 with two straight losses. What better way to send a message than beating Lone Star conference rival Texas A&M-Commerce in the DII showcase?

DII football Week 5 rankings: Risers, fallers and newcomers

Indianapolis only climbed one spot this week, but it was a big one, entering the top 10 for the first time in 2019. The Greyhounds already have a big signature win against then-No. 23 Ashland on opening night and have been steamrolling the competition since, winning four straight by a score of 243-55.

The biggest risers of the week both come from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Indiana (Pa) and Kutztown each jumped three spots. Keep in mind, neither were in the preseason top 25. We already mentioned Maxwell, but be sure to keep tabs on Kutztown's versatile quarterback Collin DiGalbo if the Golden Bears continue to climb the rankings.

The biggest fallers are Minnesota Duluth — who fell 11 spots — and Grand Valley State — who dropped 10. Both lost their first games of the season, but have a prime opportunity to bounce back this week. The Lakers could jump with a win over a Cardinals team receiving votes.

Angelo State and West Alabama fell from the top 25 altogether.

Truman and West Florida enter the mix for the first time all season. The Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 and made waves earlier this season by beating not one, but two FCS teams in the first three weeks of the season. West Florida is no stranger to the top 25, but it's been a while. The 2017 national runners-up were one of the feel-good stories, making the championship game in just its second season as a DII program. Now, winners of four straight, the Argos return to the top 25 in a Gulf South Conference that is suddenly a bit more wide open.

DII OVER FCS: Truman part of six DII vs. FCS Week 1 upsets | Truman dominates Valpo in Week 3

How the conferences fared in Week 5

It's still a PSAC party in the polls, the lone school with four teams represented. With the loss of Angelo State, we're down to just one conference with three schools, as the MIAA is still proving to be quite the DII football power. The GLVC jumps into an eight-way tie with two schools after the addition of Truman this week.

Here's how the top 25 breaks down by conference. 

PSAC 4 Slippery Rock, West Chester, IUP, Kutztown
MIAA 3 Northwest Missouri State, Central Missouri, Pittsburg State
GAC 2 Ouachita Baptist, Harding
GLIAC 2 Ferris State, Grand Valley State
GLVC 2 Indianapolis, Truman
GSC 2 Valdosta State, West Florida
LSC 2 Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce
NSIC 2 Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth
RMAC 2 CSU-Pueblo, Colorado School of Mines
SAC 2 Lenoir-Rhyne, Wingate
CIAA 1 Bowie State
MEC 1 Notre Dame (OH)

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