SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Newly minted FCS champion North Dakota State was voted the unanimous No. 1 team in the country in the season’s final FCS Coaches Poll. The Bison earned their fifth consecutive national championship in convincing fashion on Saturday, downing Jacksonville State 37-10 in Frisco, Texas.
NDSU became the first college football team to win five straight national championships with the victory. Senior quarterback Carson Wentz, who returned to action after missing more than two months with a wrist injury, threw for 197 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-29 passing to help the Bison to a win. He added 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Bison collected 625 points and 25 first-place votes to take the top spot in the poll. Jacksonville State garnered 597 points and claimed the second spot after falling short in the title game. The Gamecocks finished the season with a 13-2 record.
Richmond and Sam Houston State took the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the poll with 560 points and 538 points, respectively. Both teams fell in the semifinal round of the playoffs. Illinois State rounds out the top five with 513 points. The Redbirds were knocked out by Richmond in the quarterfinals, 39-27.
Northern Iowa and Charleston Southern check in at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. UNI made a run to the quarterfinals and played eventual-champion NDSU close, but fell 23-13 and finished the season with a 9-5 record. The Buccaneers downed The Citadel in second-round action but dropped a high-scoring affair to Jacksonville State in the quarterfinals, 58-38.
Chattanooga, McNeese State and Portland State occupy the No. 8-No. 10 spots, in that order. McNeese State and Portland State were both ousted by road teams in the playoffs after receiving a first-round bye. The Mocs beat Fordham 50-20 in the first round before falling to the eventual-runner-up Gamecocks in overtime, 41-35, in a second-round contest.
Colgate made the biggest jump from the Nov. 23 poll, going from unranked to No. 13 with 297 points. The upstart Raiders, who earned the Patriot League’s automatic berth, defeated New Hampshire in the opening round, 27-20, before edging James Madison in second-round action, 44-38. They were eventually knocked out by Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals, closing out the season with a 9-5 mark.
Western Illinois also climbed into the top 25, securing a No. 22 ranking. Grambling State and Northern Arizona – two teams that appeared in the Nov. 23 poll – dropped out of the rankings.
A total of 10 conferences are represented in the poll. The Missouri Valley Conference leads the way with five teams, while the Big Sky Conference and Colonial Athletic Association claim three representatives each. Seven other conferences have two representatives.
The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.
|Team (No. 1 Votes)||Record||Points||Previous||Team (No. 1 Votes)||Record||Points||Previous||Team (No. 1 Votes)||
|1. North Dakota State (25)||13-2||625||3||11. James Madison||9-3||319||6||21. North Carolina A&T||10-2||107||20|
|2. Jacksonville State||13-2||597||1||12. William & Mary||9-4||317||13||22. Western Illinois||7-6||102||NR|
|3. Richmond||10-4||560||11||13. Colgate||9-5||297||NR||23. Eastern Illinois||7-5||67||23|
|4. Sam Houston State||11-4||538||10||14. Montana||8-5||285||17||24. Dartmouth||9-1||64||22|
|5. Illinois State||10-3||513||4||15. The Citadel||9-4||276||18||25. Bethune-Cookman||9-2||47||21|
|6. Northern Iowa||9-5||491||14||16. South Dakota State||8-4||257||12||
Dropped from the rankings: Grambling State, Northern Arizona
Others receiving votes: New Hampshire 40, Alcorn State 34, Duquesne 34, Northern Arizona 33, Eastern Washington 33, Dayton 27, Grambling State 21, North Dakota 16, Towson 10, Central Arkansas 9, Villanova 9, Youngstown State 6, Prairie View A&M 5, Liberty 2
|7. Charleston Southern||10-3||460||7||17. Coastal Carolina||9-3||251||9|
|8. Chattanooga||9-4||410||8||18. Southern Utah||8-4||204||16|
|9. McNeese State||10-1||395||2||19. Fordham||9-3||171||15|
|10. Portland State||9-3||368||5||20. Harvard||9-1||117||19|
|1. North Dakota State||6. Northern Iowa||11. James Madison||16. South Dakota State||21. North Carolina A&T|
|2. Jacksonville State||7. Charleston Southern||12. William & Mary||17. Coastal Carolina||22. Western Illinois|
|3. Richmond||8. Chattanooga||13. Colgate||18. Southern Utah||23. Eastern Illinois|
|4. Sam Houston State||9. McNeese State||14. Montana||19. Fordham||24. Dartmouth|
|5. Illinois State||10. Portland State||15. The Citadel||20. Harvard||25. Bethune-Cookman|