By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Morningside (Iowa), despite being inactive last week, holds the No. 1 ranking for the fourth-straight edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs were the unanimous selection for the third-consecutive week, garnering all 14 first-place votes and 314 total points.
Morningside (3-0) takes its unbeaten record on the road for the second-straight game, as the Mustangs visit Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) rival Midland (Neb.) on Saturday. Morningside enters the week as the national leader in 10 statistical categories, including first downs per game (32.7), pass efficiency (191.5) and total offense per game (606.7).
Jumping two places to No. 2 and receiving its highest ranking in program history is Cumberlands (Ky.) with 299 points. The Patriots had arguably their most impressive performance of the season last Saturday with a 59-3 rout of then-No. 25 Pikeville (Ky.). Cumberlands rattled off 59 unanswered points in the contest after Pikeville opened the game with a 13-yard field goal. The Patriots’ eclipsed 545 yards of total offense for the third time in four games with 587 total yards.
Saint Xavier compiled 283 points en route to the No. 3 ranking. The Cougars knocked off their second ranked opponent in as many weeks with a 37-25 victory at then-No. 22 St. Francis (Ill.). Quarterback John Rhode lead the Cougars’ offense with a season-high tying 280 yards passing on 25-of-27 attempts. Saint Xavier’s schedule does not get any easier over the next two weeks, as the Cougars host No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) Saturday and travel to No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) Oct. 12.
Grand View, who received 276 points this week, moves into the No. 4 spot following a 23-7 victory against then-No. 2 Saint Francis over the weekend. The Vikings, who are receiving their highest-ever mention in the Top 25, are 4-0 on the season, including two wins against Top 25 teams.
Rounding out the top five is No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.) with 275 points, respectively. The Tigers have rebounded from their season opening loss against NCAA Division II Ohio Dominican with back-to-back road wins against Mid-South Conference opponents. This past weekend, the Tigers picked up a dominant 49-7 victory at Kentucky Christian.
Grand View, No. 7 Benedictine (Kan.), No. 17 Concordia (Neb.) and No. 22 William Penn (Iowa) each jumped three places from the second regular-season edition to highlight the positive movement within the poll. Conversely, Tabor (Kan.) suffered the largest drop-off, falling from No. 8 to No. 15 after an overtime loss at Sterling (Kan.), 46-45.
Four newcomers join the Top 25 – No. 19 Montana State-Northern, No. 20 Friends (Kan.), No. 23 Robert Morris (Ill.) and No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.). Robert Morris returns to the poll after a one-week hiatus, while Friends last received recognition in 2012 and Montana State-Northern in 2011.
Siena Heights is sporting its first-ever national mention this week. The Saints own a 3-1 record this season with their lone loss coming against Grand View, 24-21, in their season opener on Sept. 7.
Northwestern (Iowa) – previously No. 17 – dropped out of the poll for the first time since Oct. 2011 to snap a streak of 23-straight mentions. The Red Raiders lost to Nebraska Wesleyan, 22-8, this past weekend to drop to 2-2 on the year and 1-2 in the GPAC. Montana Tech (No. 21), St. Francis (No. 22) and Trinity International (Ill.) (No. 24) also fell out of the Top 25.
The Mid-States Football Association Midwest League, Heart of America Athletic Conference and Frontier Conference are tied for the most programs in the poll with four teams each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The fourth regular-season Top 25 will be announced Oct. 7.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Morningside’s No. 1 ranking marks the fourth time the Mustangs have earned the top spot in the poll — all occurring this season … Northwestern (Iowa) fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since Oct. 10, 2011 – a string of 23-consecutive polls … No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.), who started football in 2011, is making its first-ever appearance in the Top 25 … Since 2000, only three programs have lasted the entire season ranked at No. 1 – Carroll (Mont.) (2003, 2005), former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (2009) and Georgetown (Ky.) (2001) … Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: Marian, Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Georgetown … Carroll leads all institutions with 57 all-time first-place rankings and is followed by Sioux Falls (55), Georgetown (25), Saint Xavier (14) and former member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) … No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 172 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances is Carroll with 159, Missouri Valley with 94, Morningside with 78 and Saint Xavier with 67 … No. 3 Saint Xavier holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 53-straight polls dating back to Sept. 21, 2009 … Following Saint Xavier in consecutive top 10 appearances are No. 5 Georgetown (30) and No. 1 Morningside (26) … Thirty-nine teams have been ranked in the Coaches’ Poll this season.2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 3 (Sept. 30)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (14)||3-0||314|
|3||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||3-1||283|
|4||7||Grand View (Iowa)||4-0||276|
|6||2||Saint Francis (Ind.)||2-1||239|
|11||11||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||2-1||205|
|14||16||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||5-0||153|
|16||18||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||4-1||136|
|18||19||Valley City State (N.D.)||3-1||103|
|22||25||William Penn (Iowa)||2-2||63|
|23||RV||Robert Morris (Ill.)||4-1||40|
|24||23||Peru State (Neb.)||3-1||33|
|25||NR||Siena Heights (Mich.)||3-1||22|
Others Receiving Votes: MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 15; McPherson (Kan.) 7; St. Francis (Ill.) 7; Northwestern (Iowa) 6; Trinity International (Ill.) 6; Nebraska Wesleyan 3.