PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Sports Network)- The New Hampshire Wildcats strengthened their hold on the No. 1 ranking in The Sports Network I-AA Top 25 poll after a convincing, 45-17, win against Villanova. The Wildcats improved to 4-0 on the season and hold the top spot for the second week in a row. New Hampshire garnered 84 of a possible 115 first-place votes and 2,862 points to earn the No. 1 spot. The Wildcats go on the road to No. 17 William & Mary on Saturday.
The next three spots remained unchanged as well. Southern Illinois is at No. 2 after holding off Missouri State, 30-23, in overtime. Western Kentucky and Montana remain at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, while James Madison vaulted one position to No. 5 with a 42-10 win at Hofstra.
Teams coming in at No. 6 through No. 10 all moved up one spot after double-digit victories. Furman is at No. 6, Northern Iowa comes in at No. 7, Hampton is at No. 8, Cal Poly comes in at No. 9 and Lehigh rounds out the top 10. The Mountain Hawks ended Harvard's 13-game win streak with a 49-24 victory.
Montana State and North Dakota State move up one spot to No. 11 and No. 12, respectively, after home victories. Delaware endured the biggest drop within the poll, falling eight spots to No. 13 after a 35-31 loss at Towson. Texas State is up two rungs to No. 14, while Eastern Washington drops a spot to No. 15 despite a victory against Portland State.
Appalachian State is at No. 16, with William & Mary at No. 17, Massachusetts at No. 18, Coastal Carolina at No. 19 and Harvard at No. 20. Coastal Carolina is back in the rankings after a 24-23 win at South Carolina State.
Georgia Southern is at No. 21, followed by Youngstown State at No. 22, Northwestern State at No. 23, South Carolina State at No. 24 and Idaho State at No. 25. Georgia Southern and Youngstown State also enter the poll this week, with Western Carolina, Wofford and Hofstra dropping out.
24 of the poll's 25 teams will be in action this weekend, with four games between ranked opponents highlighting the slate. In addition to New Hampshire's contest at William & Mary, No. 4 Montana visits No. 25 Idaho State, No. 6 Furman hosts No. 16 Appalachian State, and No. 9 Cal Poly hosts No. 12 North Dakota State.
|Team (First-place votes)||Record||Points||Previous Rank|
|1. New Hampshire Wildcats (84)||4-0||2,862||1|
|2. Southern Illinois Salukis (15)||3-1||2,695||2|
|3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5)||3-1||2,597||3|
|4. Montana Grizzlies (6)||3-1||2,555||4|
|5. James Madison Dukes||3-1||2,347||6|
|6. Furman Paladins||4-1||2,170||7|
|7. Northern Iowa Panthers (1)||3-1||2,159||8|
|8. Hampton Pirates (1)||5-0||2,016||9|
|9. Cal Poly Mustangs (3)||4-1||1,986||10|
|10. Lehigh Mountain Hawks||3-1||1,626||11|
|11. Montana State Bobcats||3-2||1,573||12|
|12. North Dakota State Bison||4-1||1,532||13|
|13. Delaware Blue Hens||3-1||1,452||5|
|14. Texas State Bobcats||3-1||1,384||16|
|15. Eastern Washington Eagles||2-2||1,363||14|
|16. Appalachian State Mountaineers||3-1||1,264||17|
|17. William & Mary Tribe||2-2||876||19|
|18. Massachusetts Minutemen||3-1||872||21|
|19. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||4-1||741||NR|
|20. Harvard Crimson||2-1||524||15|
|21. Georgia Southern Eagles||3-2||481||NR|
|22. Youngstown State Penguins||4-1||403||NR|
|23. Northwestern State Demons||1-2||358||25|
|24. South Carolina State Bulldogs||3-1||251||20|
|25. Idaho State Bengals||3-2||247||24|
Others receiving votes: McNeese State 233, UC Davis 217, Stephen F. Austin 178, Western Carolina 172, Grambling State 131, Hofstra 111, Portland State 91, Alabama State 77, Penn 75, Lafayette 59, Wofford 55, Brown 49, Bethune-Cookman 45, Princeton 42, Sam Houston State 42, Towson 23, Illinois State 18, Eastern Kentucky 18, Chattanooga 12, Nicholls State 9, Villanova 7.