EIU Moves One Spot Closer To Top Of FCS National Rankings

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Published on October 22 2013 2:23 pm
Last Updated on October 22 2013 2:23 pm
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Eastern Illinois moved one spot closer to the top of the FCS national rankings as the Panthers moved up to number two in both FCS polls released Monday afternoon.  This is the highest ranking for an OVC team and the Panthers since EIU was ranked No. 2 in the nation on Nov. 18, 2002.

EIU will take the nation’s top overall offense and top scoring offense into action this Saturday at LP Field in Nashville.  EIU will face off with No. 21 Tennessee State with the Tigers ranking number nationally in total defense and scoring defense.

This will mark the third time that EIU and TSU have met when both teams are nationally ranked.  EIU won the last meeting in 2001, 52-49, when EIU was ranked No. 14 and TSU ranked No. 8.  The other meeting occurred in the 1982 NCAA I-AA playoffs with TSU winning 20-19.  The Tigers later forfeited the game due to the use of an ineligible player.  TSU was ranked No. 4 and EIU was ranked No. 5 in that game.

North Dakota State, one four remaining undefeated teams in the nation, remained number one in both polls.  The Bison had all 26 first place votes in the FCS Coaches poll and all 156 first place votes in the Sports Network poll.  Coastal Carolina (7-0) moved up to number three in the FCS Coaches poll and number six in the Sports Network rankings.  Fordham (8-0) was ranked number eight by the FCS Coaches and number nine by Sports Network.  Harvard (5-0) was ranked No. 23 by the FCS Coaches and is the fourth team also receiving votes in the Sports Network poll.

North Dakota State, Eastern Illinois, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Washington, Montana State, Towson, McNeese State, Fordham, Sam Houston State and Montana comprised the FCS Coaches top ten.  Wofford led schools ranked eleven through twenty followed by Youngstown State, Bethune-Cookman, Maine, Lehigh, James Madison, Villanova, Northern Iowa, Northern Arizona and Central Arkansas.  Tennessee State, New Hampshire, Harvard, Charleston Southern and South Dakota State rounded out the FCS Coaches Top 25 which had no new teams enter the poll this week.

North Dakota State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Washington, McNeese State and Montana State were the top five ranked schools in the Sports Network poll.  Coastal Carolina was sixth followed by Sam Houston State, Towson, Fordham, Montana, Maine, Wofford, Youngstown State, Bethune-Cookman and Lehigh in spots seven through fifteen.  The final ten schools in the Sports Network poll consisted of Northern Arizona, Northern Iowa, Villanova, James Madison, New Hampshire, Tennessee State, Samford, Central Arkansas, Georgia Southern and South Dakota State.   No new teams joined the Sports Network Top 25 this week.

Eastern Illinois game at Tennessee State is one of five games this Saturday between ranked teams that could help shape both conference championship races and the FCS playoff picture.  Maine and Villanova meet in the Colonial Athletic Conference.  Samford and Wofford meet in the Southern Conference.  Northern Iowa and South Dakota State meet in the Missouri Valley Conference.  Eastern Washington and Montana meet in the Big Sky Conference.