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One more step in the right direction.


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McNeese State stands strong at No. 1
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - No. 1 McNeese State was idle this past Saturday, but the Cowboys’ absence from the playing field didn’t spell a change at the top of this week’s Sports Network/CSTV I-AA Top 25 poll. Tommy Tate’s team, which has been No. 1 for seven of a possible eight weeks this season, earned 64 first-place votes and 2,530 total points in this week’s balloting. No. 2 Western Illinois continued to draw its fair share of first-place support, with the Leathernecks earning 26 top votes following a 54-20 rout of Youngstown State this past weekend.

Remaining at Nos. 3 and 4 are Villanova and Delaware, respectively, as both the Wildcats and Blue Hens survived scares in New England in order to remain undefeated. Third-ranked VU downed Rhode Island, 21-17, while fourth-ranked UD edged New Hampshire by a 22-21 count. Rounding out the first handful is Montana, which finds itself back in the top five for the first time since September 1st. The Grizzlies, who move up one spot, were 12-7 winners over Weber State this past weekend.

Moving up one position to No. 6 this week is Massachusetts, which defeated William & Mary, 24-14, this past weekend. The Minutemen are one spot ahead of No. 7 Southern Illinois, which also ascended one rung after taking down Illinois State, 45-17. Up two spots is No. 8 Wofford, which handled Elon, 45-7, on Saturday. No. 9 Western Kentucky stands its ground after taking down Southwest Missouri State, 9-6. Rounding out the Top 10 is Georgia Southern, which moves up one place after defeating Western Carolina, 31-25.

Completing the Top 15 are No. 11 Northern Iowa, up one spot following a 22-14 win over Indiana State; No. 12 Bethune-Cookman, up one after defeating Delaware State, 27-13; No. 13 Furman, down eight positions following a 13-10 loss to unranked Appalachian State; No. 14 Northern Arizona, which stands its ground after defeating Sacramento State, 24-21; and No. 15 Penn, which maintains its standing following a 14-13 win over Bucknell.

Filling out the Top 20 are No. 16 Grambling State, No. 17 Southern, No. 18 Colgate, No. 19 Northwestern State, and No. 20 Maine.

Finishing out the poll are No. 21 Idaho State, No. 22 Harvard, No. 23 Florida Atlantic, No. 24 Fordham, and No. 25 Florida Atlantic.

No. 23 Florida Atlantic and No. 25 North Carolina A&T are new to this week’s rankings. The 23rd-ranked Owls are ranked for the first time since Sept. 1, when they occupied the No. 24 position. The 25th-ranked Aggies are back in the rankings for the first time since Nov. 12, 2001, when they were No. 22.

Twenty-four of the poll’s 25 teams will be in action this week, with two matchups between a pair of ranked teams featured on the docket. No. 2 Western Illinois will host No. 7 Southern Illinois in a key Gateway Football Conference game, while No. 5 Montana travels to No. 21 Idaho State in a battle between two of the three reigning Big Sky champions.

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