By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Morningside (Iowa) continues its reign as the top-ranked team in the nation for the fifth-straight edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs were again the unanimous selection with 14 first-place votes and 314 total points after improving to 4-0 with a 33-7 win over Midland (Neb.) on Oct. 5.
The Mustangs, who rank among the top five nationally in 12 statistical categories, are looking to become the first team to last the entire season at No. 1 since former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) accomplished the feat in 2009. Morningside has outscored its opponents 215-59 through four games in 2013 and is averaging 594.5 total yards per game. The Mustangs return to action Saturday against Hastings (Neb.).
Cumberlands (Ky.) retains its program-best No. 2 ranking for the second-straight week with 299 points. The Patriots (5-0) picked up their third win against a ranked opponent this season after defeating then-No. 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 52-45, last Saturday. Senior running back Terrance Cobb led the charge with a game-high 153 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 attempts.
Grand View (Iowa) continues its climb up the Top 25, landing at No. 3 this week with 292 points. The ranking is the highest-ever for the Vikings, who started the year at No. 19. Grand View claimed arguably its biggest victory of the season over the weekend with a 48-21 win at then-No. 3 Saint Xavier (Ill.). The Vikings’ defense forced six turnovers, while the offense churned out a season-high 581 yards of total offense. Sophomore quarterback Derek Fulton continued his consistent play, completing 19-of-30 passes (63.3 percent) for 298 yards and three touchdowns, while junior quarterback Dorian Ballentine led the ground attack with a career-high 103 yards on 17 attempts.
Rounding out the top five this week are No. 4 Saint Francis (Ind.) and No. 5 Benedictine (Kan.) with 275 and 261 points, respectively. Both teams climbed two places from the third regular-season edition after picking up victories against conference opponents last weekend. For Benedictine, the ranking is its first time landing in the top five since Sept. 24, 2002 when the Ravens were No. 2.
No. 19 Peru State (Neb.) jumped five spots from last week to highlight the positive movement within the poll. Conversely, No. 10 Saint Xavier (Ill.), No. 12 Georgetown (Ky.) and No. 20 Doane (Neb.) suffered the largest drop-off, falling seven places after losing last Saturday.
For the second-straight week, four newcomers join the Top 25 – No. 21 Trinity International (Ill.), No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan, No. 23 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 25 St. Francis (Ill.). This is the first Top 25 ranking for Nebraska Wesleyan since 2009. The other three programs were ranked at some point in 2013.
William Penn (Iowa) – previously No. 22 – dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time since August 2010 to snap a streak of 42-straight mentions. The Statesmen lost to then-No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa), 53-34, this past weekend to fall to 2-3 on the season.
Montana Western (No. 21), Robert Morris (Ill.) (No. 23) and Siena Heights (Mich.) (No. 25) also fell out of the Top 25.
The Mid-States Football Association Midwest League, Heart of America Athletic Conference and Great Plains Athletic 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 fifth regular-season Top 25 will be announced Oct. 14.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Morningside’s (Iowa) No. 1 ranking marks the fifth time the Mustangs have earned the top spot in the poll — all occurring this season … William Penn (Iowa) fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since August 9, 2010 – a string of 42-consecutive polls … No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan is making its first Top 25 appearance since the 2009 season …No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) both received a program-best ranking this week … 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. 4 Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 173 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 160, Missouri Valley with 95, Morningside with 79 and Saint Xavier with 68 … No. 10 Saint Xavier holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 54-straight polls dating back to Sept. 21, 2009 … Following Saint Xavier in consecutive top 10 appearances is No. 1 Morningside (27) … Forty teams have been ranked in the Coaches’ Poll this season.2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 4 (Oct. 7)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (14)||4-0||314|
|3||4||Grand View (Iowa)||5-0||292|
|4||6||Saint Francis (Ind.)||3-1||275|
|9||11||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||3-1||215|
|10||3||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||3-2||211|
|13||16||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||5-1||162|
|16||18||Valley City State (N.D.)||4-1||132|
|T17||14||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||5-1||120|
|19||24||Peru State (Neb.)||4-1||94|
|21||RV||Trinity International (Ill.)||4-1||52|
|25||RV||St. Francis (Ill.)||3-2||16|
Others Receiving Votes: Reinhardt (Ga.) 13; Robert Morris (Ill.) 7; Montana Western 3; Southern Oregon 3; Campbellsville (Ky.) 3; Siena Heights (Mich.) 3.