WACO, TEX.-- The AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll debuted on August 29, 2000, and it has been going strong for 100 weeks during the fall. This week’s poll marks the 100th time selected coaches from around the country have been voting on a Top 25 in Division II. During the first seven years of the poll, only one team has ever spent the entire season ranked No. 1, and it is this week’s No. 1 team, Grand Valley State. The Lakers have done it twice, in 2002 and 2006.
North Dakota remains No. 2 after a 63-42 shootout against Western Washington. No. 3 North Alabama again received one first place vote after holding Southern Arkansas in check, 27-8. Chadron State jumped up one spot to No. 4 after handing Colorado School of Mines a 35-7 loss. Valdosta State survived a scare against Arkansas Tech, 28-27, and drops to No. 5 this week.
No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha beat Augustana (S.D.), 36-23, and moved its record to 4-0, as did No. 7 Carson-Newman, after beating Dixie State, 35-13. Delta State moved up a spot to No. 8 after dominating Ouachita Baptist, 42-10. No. 9 Newberry turned five West Georgia turnovers into 28 points in the Indians’ 64-9 victory. No. 10 Northwest Missouri State regained “The Old Hickory Stick” for a sixth straight year after beating Truman State, 53-6.
West Texas A&M blanked Northeastern State, 38-0, and jumps one spot to No. 11. California (Pa.) was idle and sits No. 12 this week. No. 13 Midwestern State handed East Central a 49-14 loss and moves it record to 4-0. Catawba moved up a position to No. 14 despite being idle. Tarleton State is the new No. 15 team this week giving Texas A&M-Commerce a 24-7 loss.
No. 16 South Dakota recorded its first shutout of the season in a 31-0 win over St. Cloud State. Abilene Christian moved up one spot to No. 17 after a dominating 50-14 win over Southwestern Oklahoma State. No. 18 Wingate also moved up a spot after being idle. Pittsburg State fell 12 positions to No. 19 after its loss to Missouri Western State. West Chester edged Shippensburg, 34-29, and stays in the 20th position.
No. 21 Indiana (Pa.) is 3-0 on the season after a 45-0 blanking of Millersville. No. 22 Shepherd rebounded from its first loss of the season last week with a 31-10 victory over Fairmont State. Mars Hill moved up to No. 23 this week after beating West Liberty State, 28-23. Missouri Western State jumps into the poll at No. 24 after upsetting then-No. 7 Pittsburg State, 39-32. It was the Griffons first win at “The Pitt” since 1984. Tuskegee stays in the 25th spot after handing a conference rival, Fort Valley State, a 34-3 loss.
Conference Breakdown: South Atlantic-5 (Carson-Newman, Newberry, Catawba, Wingate, Mars Hill); Lone Star-4 (West Texas A&M, Midwestern State, Tarleton State, Abilene Christian); Gulf South-3 (North Alabama, Valdosta State, Delta State); MIAA-3 (Pittsburg State, Northwest Missouri State, Missouri Western State); North Central-3 (North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota); Pennsylvania State Athletic-3 (California (Pa.), West Chester, Indiana (Pa.)); Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Grand Valley State); Rocky Mountain Athletic-1 (Chadron State); Southern Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Tuskegee); West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Shepherd).
Two games featuring teams ranked in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll highlight this weekend’s action. The first is a Top 10 match-up of conference rivals as No. 9 Newberry travels to No. 7 Carson-Newman. Newberry beat the Eagles for the first time in 19 years last season, 32-18. Carson-Newman owns the overall series lead at 25-16. The second Top 25 match-up is another South Atlantic Conference tilt as No. 14 Catawba hosts No. 23 Mars Hill. The Indians have defeated Mars Hill in 10 of the last 11 meetings, but the Lions won last year’s meeting, 25-7.
Pittsburg State is the only team to be ranked in all 100 Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Polls ... Valdosta State has been ranked in 99 of the polls, only missing the preseason poll of 2000 ... Grand Valley State has been ranked No. 1 for 60 of the 100 weeks of the Division II Coaches’ Poll, followed by Valdosta State (13 weeks), Northwest Missouri State (12 weeks), Delta State (7 weeks), Pittsburg State (4 weeks), Saginaw Valley State (3 weeks) and North Dakota (1 week) ... Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead rushed for 160 yards on 31 carries in the Eagles’ 35-7 win over Colorado School of Mines, becoming Division II’s all-time leading rusher with 7,066 yards. He needs 288 yards to break the NCAA all-division record of 7,353 set by Grove City’s (Pa.) R.J. Bowers ... North Dakota and Western Washington scored a combined 105 points, the most in North Central Conference history, during the Fighting Sioux’s 63-42 win.
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