Down goes Texas A&M-Commerce.
With Colorado State-Pueblo rolling into Commerce, Texas and handing the defending national champion Lions their first loss since October 7, 2017, there is a new No. 1 in DII football. In fact, with a few other upsets this past weekend, the top 10 shifted and has a new look for it while a couple of other teams find their way into the top 25.
Let’s break down the Week 4 top 25.
Welcome to Mavericks Country
Minnesota State is the new No. 1 in DII football. It’s hard to argue with the Mavericks jump to the top spot. They have just one loss in the past two seasons, and that came at the hands of Texas A&M-Commerce in last year’s tournament.
Final Score: Minnesota State 31, Winona State 21. pic.twitter.com/f7b4XU2e4L
— Minnesota State Football (@MinnStFootball) September 22, 2018
With Northwest Missouri State also being upset, falling to Central Oklahoma 31-21, there was a lot of movement in the top 10. Indiana (Pa) jumped a spot into No. 2 while Grand Valley State, Ferris State, and Midwestern State all jumped to spots each to round out the new look top 5.
Bulldogs and Gorillas crack the top 10
It took two overtimes against a very under-the-radar team in Bemidji State, but Minnesota Duluth prevailed 26-19 to move to 4-0 on the season. The victory saw the Bulldogs jump three spots to No. 8 in making their top 10 debut. Dual-threat quarterback John Larsen has this offense one of the more fun to watch in DII football.
Off to their first 4-0 start since 2013, the Pittsburg State Gorillas make their top 10 debut this week, climbing five spots and landing right at No. 10. The Gorillas are pounding their opponents this season, outscoring them by a score of 130-44 and out gaining them in yardage by 153.3 per game. Pittsburg State will need every win of this hot start as it has a brutal stretch of Northwest Missouri State, Fort Hays State, and Central Missouri three games in a row from October 6 to 20. Should the Gorillas make it out of that undefeated, you are looking at a true contender.
Two new teams join the mix
It’s no surprise that No. 23 Notre Dame (OH) earns a top 25 nod this week. The Falcons began their season on a high note, upsetting then-No. 17 Shepherd 35-33. The Falcons offense is pretty deep with no visible weaknesses. Quarterback Chris Brimm has yet to throw an interception this season while running back Jaleel McLaughlin is bursting on to the DII football season in a breakout freshman campaign. Marvelle Ross is as trusted a receiver as there is, so this team should be fun to watch.
Tarleton State enters the top 25 as well, entering in the last spot. A big 3-0 start has the Texans in the top 25 for the first time since 2014. Tarleton State has handled its opponents with relative ease thus far, including an impressive 44-13 opening night win against a Delta State team that was receiving votes at the time. With Texas A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State still to play, the Texans are just getting started.
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) September 24, 2018
Rises and falls
It’s probably not shocking that Colorado State-Pueblo made the biggest jump in the Week 4 poll. After falling 13 spots in Week 3 after being upset by then-unranked Colorado Mines, the ThunderWolves jumped up six spots this week landing at No. 16. Pittsburg State was right behind CSU-Pueblo, jumping five spots into the top 10.
Northwest Missouri State fell the furthest after its loss, dropping 13 spots to No. 17. Colorado Mesa, who was also upset this weekend by Chadron State fell ten to No. 24. The Lions were able to stick around the top 10, falling eight spots to No. 9. Central Missouri (T-19) and Azusa Pacific (24) left the top 25 after losses this past weekend.
What to watch
There is yet another big matchup in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference this coming weekend. No. 14 (tie) Colorado Mines and No. 24 Colorado Mesa square off in a battle for RMAC superiority. A loss will knock the Mavericks from the top 25, while a win by the Orediggers puts them in firm control of the RMAC, with a win over the ThunderWolves earlier this year.
The California (PA) Vulcans didn’t have the start they wanted but have strung together two wins in a row. That sets the scene for the Coal Bowl this weekend, the annual battle between No. 2 IUP and the Vulcans. Ashland also dropped its first two games of the season, dropping them out of the top 25 but have found success of late. If the Eagles want to make a run in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, it has to start this weekend against Ferris State. It is the third top 25 team the Eagles will face in the first five weeks of the season.
Here’s the complete AFCA top 25:
|1||Minnesota State (26)||4-0||811||2|
|2||Indiana (Pa) (5)||4-0||761||3|
|3||Grand Valley State||4-0||746||5|
|4||Ferris State (2)||4-0||734||6|
|T-14||Colorado School of Mines||4-0||397||17|
|17||Northwest Missouri State||3-1||331||4|
|18||Fort Hays State||3-1||267||18|
|23||Notre Dame (OH)||4-0||99||NR|