Georgia Southern drops number one ranking

By Taylor C. Snow

Courtesy JamieL.Williams/Flickr
Courtesy JamieL.Williams/Flickr

After several weeks as the No.1 team in the Football Championship Subdivision, Georgia Southern has dropped in the Top 25.

The Eagles were facing then-No. 5 Appalachian State in one of the two marquee games of the week. They were unimpressive, only completing four passes in the game, while sticking to the run game.

It was a close game going down the stretch, but with a little more than nine minutes left, Mountaineer quarterback Jamal Jackson hit Brian Quick for his second touchdown catch of the day. With the win, Appalachian State jumped to the No. 3 spot, while Georgia Southern fell to No. 5, with only its second loss in its last 15 games.

Former No. 2 Northern Iowa also took on great competition in its premier matchup with then-No. 3 North Dakota State. Behind sophomore quarterback Brock Jensen, who completed 88 percent of his passes. The Bison came out with a 27-19 victory, labeling them as the new undefeated No. 1 team, while the Panthers dropped to No. 6.

Montana State had no trouble becoming the No. 2 team when it dominated Idaho State, 54-13.  The Bobcats were led by two huge rushing performances to improve to 8-1. Cody Kirk ran all over the Bengals with 184 rushing yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Tray Robinson tacked on a career-high 154 ground yards and two more touchdowns to ensure the victory.

Despite only attempting 11 passes in its game, Sam Houston State remained the only other undefeated team in the nation when it pummeled Lamar, 66-0. The Bearkats amassed nearly 400 rushing yards, making them the new No. 4 team.

Maine and Lehigh swapped places on the Top 25, despite both obtaining victories. The Black Bears routed a struggling Villanova team, 41-25, jumping up one spot to No. 7.  Meanwhile, the Mountain Hawks beat Colgate, 45-25, but dropped down to the No. 8 spot.

Coming in at No. 9, New Hampshire beat rival Rhode Island, 31-24, while picking up four rushing touchdowns by four different players for the close win.

No. 10 Montana beat up Weber State with six touchdown passes from Jordan Johnson, which tied a school record. The Wildcats were unable to cover receiver Jabin Sambrano, who caught four of them.

Wofford jumped up one spot to No. 11 with the help of junior Eric Breitenstein. The fullback ran for 217 yards, picking up four touchdowns along the way to give the Terriers a 48-28 victory over Elon.

Old Dominion became the new No. 12 as it knocked James Madison out of the Top 10 to No. 13. in a tight 23-20 win.

Recently struggling Delaware hopped up five spots to No. 16 as it pushed Towson down to No. 14. The Blue Hens sealed the 35-30 victory in the third quarter when Andrew Pierce scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, giving him three scores on the day.

Jackson State improved to No. 15 when it routed Prairie View, 44-14. The Tigers outgained the Panthers, 722-263, to make them 7-1 on the season. Also benefiting this week was Illinois State, which bested in-state rival, Southern Illinois, 38-30, giving it the No. 17 spot.

No. 18 Jacksonville State moved down in the rankings while Tennessee Tech jumped up five spots to No. 20 when the Golden Eagles came up with a late score to propel them to a 21-14 victory over the Gamecocks.

Liberty stepped up one spot in their double-overtime win over Presbyterian. The game-winning score was a 25-yard pass from quarterback Mike Brown to wideout Chris Summers, as they boosted the Flames to the No. 22 spot.

No. 19 William & Mary and No. 21 Indiana State each sat at home on bye weeks and dropped one spot in the rankings.

Harvard quarterback Collier Winters could not match up to last week’s record-tying touchdown performance, as he only completed 10 passes in this week’s game against Dartmouth.  However, the Crimson still dominated winning, 41-10, and boosting them to the No. 23 spot.

Leading 24-10 with less than five minutes remaining in its matchup against Cal Poly, South Dakota was confident it would improve its then-No.17 ranking. However, the Mustangs scored two quick touchdowns and hit a game-winning field goal to win a 27-24 stunner, while the Coyotes fell seven spots to No. 24.

Former No. 16, Alabama State, was trailing rival Alabama A&M, 20-13, in the fourth quarter before the hornets scored what was expected to be a game-tying touchdown. However, the extra point was blocked and they could not score again. Falling in a close battle 20-19, Alabama State fell out of the Top 25 completely.

Rounding out the Top 25 this week is newcomer Central Arkansas. Led by senior quarterback Nathan Dick, who threw five touchdowns on the day, the Bears easily beat Southeastern Louisiana, 55-29, as they became the newest No. 25 team.

Taylor Snow can be reached at [email protected], or followed on Twitter @MDC_Snow.