Four upsets in the DII Football Top 25 led to a shakeup in this week’s DII American Football Coaches Association poll.
RELATED: AFCA Week 4 poll
While most of the poll has a different feel to it, one thing still hasn’t changed. Let’s take a look at five takeaways from this week’s rankings.
Northwest Missouri State was back with a vengence this week. After two weeks that the final score was a lot closer than the Bearcats would have liked, they came out and handled business, beating Missouri Southern 63-0. It was hands down Zach Martin’s best outing since taking over as the new quarterback this season, throwing for 326 yards and six touchdowns.
— Northwest Athletics (@bearcatsports) September 25, 2017
Most impressive? The Bearcats have played four games and have posted three shutouts. They are outscoring their opponents 130-14 on the season, allowing 147.5 yards and 3.5 points per game (kudos to an underrated Washburn team that lost 20-14 in Week 2). There is a reason that this team has won 34 in a row, and that reason is defense. Northwest Missouri State can’t rest this week, however. A surging Central Missouri, fresh off an upset of No. 15 Emporia State, is looking to get back into the Top 25 hosting the Bearcats.
While there are plenty of conferences represented by multiple teams in the Top 25 (see below), the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is dominating the Top 5 with a pair of teams. Quarterback Lenny Williams, Jr. has made Indiana (Pa) tough to defend, making plays through the air (956 yards passing and a 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio) or extending plays with his feet.
— IUP Football (@IUPfootball) September 23, 2017
California (Pa) barely escaped an upset to Seton Hill, but quarterback Michael Keir was able to scramble in for a touchdown from two yards out in the final seconds. That allowed Indiana (Pa) to leapfrog its PSAC rival for the first time in the rankings this season. Both teams have their hands full this week, as the Crimson Hawks await the same Seton Hill team that gave the Vulcans fits, while Cal travels to Slippery Rock for a Top 25 matchup.
The following week, all eyes will be on the PSAC as Indiana and Cal go head-to-head in a game that will likely decide the conference.
Arkansas Tech continues its dream season, jumping five spots to No. 11 this week. That earns them the honors of this week’s biggest risers.
The Wonder Boys are seemingly getting better as the season progresses. They defeated Top 25 teams in consecutive weeks to open the season, scoring 54 combined points in the process. The past two weeks? ATU has dropped 58 and 52 respectively, shutting out Southern Nazerine 52-0 this week.
— Arkansas Tech Sports (@ATU_Athletics) September 23, 2017
This weekend will be yet another big test for the Wonder Boys as Ouachita Baptist comes to Russellville, Arkansas. Ouachita Baptist sits in second place in the Great American Conference, right behind undefeated Arkansas Tech at 3-1, even receiving a few votes this week. If the Wonder Boys pull out yet another victory, they could be looking at a Top 10 ranking.
Welcome to the party
Ashland has had quite the season. The Eagles are a blocked field goal away from an undefeated record and much higher ranking. After losing to Indiana (Pa) 26-23 on opening night, Ashland has been on a rampage, outscoring its opponents 109-38, culminating in a 20-3 victory over then-No. 2-ranked Ferris State this past Saturday. After receiving votes all season, the Eagles finally crack the Top 25, entering the poll at No. 20.
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference is heavily represented in the Top 10, with Minnesota State and Sioux Falls sitting at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively. Now, Winona State joins the mix, entering this week’s poll at No. 25. All three teams are a perfect 4-0, tied atop the NSIC South Division. Two weeks from now will see Winona State and Sioux Falls go to battle for what could decide the division.
Fun with numbers
90-5 – combined record of the Top 25.
17 – number of teams that are a perfect 4-0 on the season.
20 – ranked teams that remain undefeated through Week 4.
1 – Grand Valley State is the only Top 10 team with a loss, dropping an opening night stunner to No. 10 UIndy.
22-2 – Combined record of Top 25 this past Saturday. Then-No. 9 LIU-Post lost to an under-the-radar Bentley team, dropping all the way to No. 24. Ashland’s upset of Ferris State was the other loss. Midwestern State was idle.
3 – number of teams that didn’t change this week. No. 1 Northwest Missouri State, No. 5 California (Pa) and No. 7 Sioux Falls were the only teams to stand strong in a week of shakeups.
3 – number of Top 25 matchups now set for this Saturday. No. 8 Colorado Mesa heads to No. 17 Colorado State-Pueblo, while the No. 5 Vulcans head to No. 21 Slippery Rock. Looking to jump back up in the rankings, No. 24 LIU-Post hosts No. 22 Assumption in a battle with major Northeast-10 implications.
There was a shift of power in this week’s DII football poll. With Emporia State leaving the Top 25, the MIAA has just two teams represented for the first time this season. Both the NSIC and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference picked up a team making trio of conferences represented by three schools.
|Conference||Teams in Top 25|
|PSAC||3 (California (PA), Indiana (PA), Slippery Rock)|
|NSIC||3 (Sioux Falls, Minnesota State, Winona State)|
|GLIAC||3 (Grand Valley State, Ferris State, Ashland)|
|MIAA||2 (NWMSU, Fort Hays State)|
|LSC||2 (Texas A&M-Commerce, Midwestern State)|
|RMAC||2 (Colorado Mesa, Colorado State-Pueblo)|
|GNAC||2 (Central Washington, Humboldt State)|
|NE-10||2 (LIU Post, Assumption)|
|GSC||1 (Delta State)|
|GAC||1 (Arkansas Tech)|
|CIAA||1 (Bowie State)|