|1||North Dakota State (25)||1-0||649||1|
|2||James Madison (1)||0-1||622||2|
|3||South Dakota State||0-1||567||4|
|13||Southeast Missouri State||1-0||290||18|
|14||North Carolina A&T||1-0||274||19|
|22||Sam Houston State||0-1||108||22|
Trey Lance dazzles in debut for top-ranked North Dakota State
North Dakota State entered the season as the resounding front-runner (23 of 26 first place votes in the preseason poll) to win its FCS-record eighth national championship. But questions arose after key graduations and a head coaching departure left plenty of new faces in the starting lineup.
At least for one week, redshirt freshman Trey Lance showed he could be the next great quarterback to come out of Fargo. Making his first career start, Lance finished with six touchdowns and 301 total yards in a 57-10 win over Butler. He was 10-of-11 for 185 yards, four scores and zero turnovers through the air.
The road gets tougher for Lance and the Bison next week against in-state foe North Dakota (1-0). Then comes four straight games against ranked opponents Delaware, UC Davis, Illinois State and Northern Iowa. This will be a revealing stretch for the two-time defending champs.
Tough to tackle.
Tough to catch. pic.twitter.com/uMGJru851K
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) August 31, 2019
Top 10 doesn’t change much despite close-call losses to FBS foes
Only one FCS team came out of Week 1 with a victory over an FBS program: Central Arkansas on Thursday, beating Western Kentucky 35-28. However, Saturday’s first full slate of games featured plenty of near upsets.
Preseason No. 2 James Madison (L, 20-13 to West Virginia), No. 4 South Dakota State (L, 28-21 to Minnesota) and No. 9 Weber State (L, 6-0 to San Diego State) were among the eight FCS programs to lose to an FBS team by seven points or less. No. 3 Eastern Washington (L, 47-14 to Washington) and No. 5 UC Davis (L, 27-13 to California) also fell to FBS foes.
But despite the losses, the latest top 10 did not see a massive overhaul, as programs were rewarded for their strong efforts playing up a division. No new teams enter the top 5, as the only shuffle saw South Dakota State and UC Davis move up to Nos. 3 and 4 ahead of defending runner-up Eastern Washington.
The lone newcomer to the top 10 is No. 9 Towson, who used a late game-winning drive to escape The Citadel in Week 1.
Northern Iowa is biggest riser after 3OT thriller
Northern Iowa took FBS No. 21 Iowa State to triple overtime in Ames and was a fumble recovery away from defeating the Cyclones. As a result, the Panthers shot up eight spots to No. 12 in the latest rankings.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Will McElvain finished 25-of-42 with a touchdown and no turnovers and kicker Matthew Cook was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including 50- and 49-yarders. Up next for UNI is two straight home games before a tough roadtrip to No. 8 Weber State on Sept. 28.
Central Arkansas was another notable riser, climbing seven spots to No. 18 after its upset over WKU.
Road win at South Dakota launches Montana into Top 25
Montana became the first team since 2002 to defeat South Dakota in its home opener with a 31-17 win on Saturday. Quarterback Dalton Sneed finished 37-of-52 with 427 passing yards and three touchdowns while three Grizzlies receivers finished with at least eight receptions. Montana makes its rankings debut at No. 23 entering its Week 2 matchup against North Alabama.
Elon, the preseason No. 21 team, dropped out of the poll after its 24-21 loss to North Carolina A&T in the only ranked matchup of Week 1.