After two more top-5 teams lost in Week 9, the latest edition of the FCS Coaches Poll has a new look.
Here are some takeaways from the latest FCS Coaches Poll on Nov. 1, which you'll see below.
|1||Sam Houston (27)||7-0||675||1|
|2||North Dakota State||8-0||644||2|
|12||South Dakota State||6-2||369||13|
|14||East Tennessee State||7-1||325||14|
|23||William & Mary||6-2||83||NR|
Two top 5 teams fall
When William & Mary knocked off then-No. 4 Villanova it continued the chaotic 2021 FCS season. The William & Mary defense's four interceptions shocked the Wildcats, giving the Tribe its first win over a top-5 team since 2010. As a result, William and Mary makes its first appearance this year in the FCS Coaches poll at No. 23; Villanova fell nine spots to No. 13, the most of any team this week.
No. 9 Southern Illinois was the other top-5 team to fall this week, dropping six spots after losing to then-No. 17 Northern Iowa. The Panthers picked up their second straight top-10 victory, beating the Salukis 23-16. After the wins, Northern Iowa sits at 15 in this week's poll, in a prime position as FCS playoff selections near.
James Madison rejoins top 3 after Cole Johnson's record day
No. 3 James Madison has its highest ranking since Week 6 after quarterback Cole Johnson threw for a school single-game record six touchdown passes. Johnson found five different receivers for touchdowns (also a school record) en route to James Madison's third straight win.
In addition to Johnson's record-breaking day, the Dukes had another strong day defensively; the seventh-best scoring defense in the FCS held Elon to a 43 percent success rate on third downs.
FBS rumors aside, James Madison remains a force to be reckoned with in the FCS.
Get your popcorn ready for Week 10
Week 10 may be the best slate of FCS games so far this season. Here's a look at the four matchups featuring two ranked teams:
- No. 2 North Dakota State at No. 12 South Dakota State
- No. 4 Montana State at No. 5 Eastern Washington
- No. 20 Missouri State at No. 9 Southern Illinois
- No. 18 VMI at No. 14 ETSU
The Dakota Marker returns as No. 2 North Dakota State battles No. 12 South Dakota State. South Dakota State had a rough October, but the Jackrabbits can return to the conversation as one of the top FCS teams by winning a rivalry game. North Dakota State can add to its resume for the FCS playoffs' top-overall seed with another ranked win.
Week 10's lone top-5 matchup features No. 4 Montana State at No. 5 Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington last hosted the No. 4 team in the country in Week 5, defeating Montana in a 34-38 thriller. This game has the potential to be just as exciting, with Montana State's second-best scoring defense battling Eastern Washington's FCS-best scoring offense.
The other ranked matchups are No. 20 Missouri State at No. 9 Southern Illinois and No. 18 VMI at No. 14 ETSU. The Salukis will try to bounce back from their first FCS loss while ETSU hosts VMI in an elimination game for the SoCon title race.
Other games of note include a trio of teams with one conference loss taking on ranked teams that are undefeated in conference play. See those matchups below.