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Stan Becton | | September 26, 2022

How a wild week of FCS Football impacted Week 5's rankings

FCS football season preview: Players to watch, potential upsets and more

A wild week saw ranked vs. ranked wins, conference upsets and a 98-point win — yes, you read that right. Such results were bound to create movement in Week 5's FCS coaches poll. Let's recap the action and how it impacted the latest poll.

Here's the complete FCS Coaches Poll (first-place votes in parentheses).

Week 5 FCS Coaches Poll

RANK SCHOOL Record Points Previous
1 North Dakota State (24) 3-1 694 1
2 Montana (4) 4-0 672 2
3 South Dakota State 3-1 646 3
4 Montana State 3-1 592 T-4
5 Sacramento State 3-0 584 6
6 Delaware 4-0 555 8
7 Weber State 4-0 498 12
8 Jackson State 4-0 490 11
9 Missouri State 2-2 432 T-4
10 Chattanooga 3-1 431 9
11 Holy Cross 4-0 408 13
12 UIW 3-1 375 7
13 Mercer 3-1 339 16
14 Stephen F. Austin 2-2 244 17
15 Villanova 2-2 221 10
16 Austin Peay 4-1 215 23
17 UT Martin 2-2 213 19
18 Eastern Washington 1-2 184 15
19 Samford 3-1 181 22
20 Fordham 3-1 175 18
21 William & Mary 3-1 168 14
22 Richmond 3-1 155 T-24
23 Elon 3-1 106 NR
24 Southeastern Louisiana 2-2 78 NR
25 Rhode Island 2-2 71 21

Ranked FCS wins lead to clarity in the top five

No. 3 South Dakota State stayed in place after defeating then-No. 4 Missouri State 28-14, using dominant defense to shut down one of the nation's best quarterbacks, Jason Shelley. The Jackrabbits allowed only 73 rushing yards and 185 passing yards, forcing two interceptions. South Dakota State's defense made life rough for Shelley, ultimately allowing its own quarterback, Mark Gronowski, to outplay Shelley as the Jackrabbit signal-caller completed 22-of-29 passes (76 percent) for 319 yards and four touchdowns. While South Dakota State's rushing attack didn't score, star running back Isaiah Davis averaged 4.15 yards per carry in the win.

While South Dakota State rose in the rankings, No. 9 Missouri State dropped five spots after the loss. The Bears have now lost back-to-back games. Despite the drop, Missouri State remains the highest-ranked two-loss team in the nation.

Out west, No. 4 Montana State broke its tie for fourth in the rankings after knocking off then-No. 15 Eastern Washington 38-35. Montana State won on the road on Eastern Washington's red turf — one of the hardest places to play in the FCS — powered by quarterback Sean Chambers' rushing ability. The Bobcats picked up an impressive win and now have the nation's eighth-leading scoring offense entering the meat of their schedule.

SCOREBOARD: See every score from last week's action

No. 5 Sacramento State's FCS-over-FBS upset has the Hornets rising

Sacramento State won the eighth FCS-over-FBS upset of the season, with the Hornets dominating Colorado State in a 41-10 win. Sacramento State only allowed 10 first downs in four quarters to what was supposed to be a superior opponent. Sacramento State now has two signature wins in its 3-0 start, already holding a Big Sky-MVFC Challenge win. The Hornets have now risen in the poll in consecutive weeks.

UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS win 

No. 12 UIW drops, No. 24 Southeastern Louisiana enters after a last-second win

After UIW tied the game at 35 with 21 seconds to play, Southeastern Louisiana hoped to get in field goal range to win the game. What happened next was spectacular. With five seconds left, Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Eli Sawyer found wide receiver C.J. Turner on the right sideline as a UIW slipped. Turner ran 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

That win dropped UIW five spots in this week's poll and has Southeastern Louisiana as one of two new entrants.

HBCU: See the latest HBCU football power rankings

98 points equal a three-spot jump for No. 14 Stephen F. Austin

No. 14 Stephen F. Austin scored 98 points — no, that's not a typo — against Warner in a shutout victory. While Warner wasn't an FCS opponent, 98 points are 98 points. The win could be the momentum swing the Lumberjacks need entering the Battle of Piney Woods.

CAA upsets lead to drops in the rankings

Defending CAA champion No. 15 Villanova dropped five spots — tied for the second-most of any team this week — after suffering an upset loss to Monmouth 49-42, who entered the game 1-2. The Wildcats struggled to stop the run all game, allowing Monmouth running back Jaden Shirden to rush for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, with his most important carry resulting in the game-winning score with 46 seconds to play.

Elsewhere in the conference, Elon entered the poll at No. 23 after knocking off William and Mary 35-31, leading the Tribe to drop seven spots in the poll to No. 21. As a conference, the CAA had the two biggest fallers in Week 5. William & Mary's drop comes after allowing 21 fourth-quarter points, with two touchdowns coming from running back Jalen Hampton. It's a collapse that scrambles the middle of the conference standings early in the season.

QB-WR: The top 5 quarterback-wide receiver duos in FCS football, so far

No. 16 Austin Peay rises the most of any team

Austin Peay improved seven spots in this week's poll, the most of any team after knocking off then No. 20 Eastern Kentucky 31-20. The Governors overcame a 20-3 halftime deficit, shutting out Eastern Kentucky in the second half. The win highlights an Austin Peay team that's off to an impressive 4-1 start.

Quarterback Mike DiLiello is the nation's eighth-leading passer, but also has six rushing touchdowns, the second-most in the FCS. While DiLiello may get the headlines, the defense is holding its own, allowing the fifth-fewest points in the country. In fact, Austin Peay's defense has held FCS teams scoreless in 13 of 16 quarters this season.

🏆: These 5 FCS teams could be the next first-time national champion

No. 20 Fordham impresses voters after an FBS shootout

Fordham rose two spots in this week's poll after narrowly losing to FBS opponent Ohio. The Rams led 49-38 entering the fourth quarter and held onto a six-point lead entering the final minute. While Fordham ultimately lost 59-52, the Rams still showed that they have arguably the most explosive offense in the country behind quarterback Tim DeMorat's 461 passing yards and seven touchdowns and wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis' 13 catches for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

MOVEMENT: Making sense of FCS conference realignment

Week 5 games to watch

Here are some matchups involving ranked teams to watch in Week 5.

All times Eastern.

  • No. 11 Holy Cross at Harvard | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
  • No. 22 Richmond at No. 23 Elon | 2 p.m. | FloFootball
  • No. 19 Samford at Furman | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
  • Youngstown State at No. 1 North Dakota State | 2 p.m. | ABC ND / ESPN+
  • No. 14 Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston (at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX) | 2 p.m. | Bally Sports SW
  • No. 10 Chattanooga at ETSU | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN+

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