By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Morningside (Iowa) takes over the No. 1 ranking in the second regular-season edition of the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs, who have now been ranked among the top five in 28-straight polls, received 14 first-place votes and 340 points en route to its 10th all-time top billing. Morningside was last ranked No. 1 on Nov. 4, 2013.
The Mustangs have been arguably the most dominant team in NAIA football this season, outscoring its opponents 211-35 through three games, including a 72-2 win in their home opener against Dordt (Iowa) last Saturday. Morningside (3-0) enters the week as the NAIA leader in eight statistical categories, including rush defense (20.0), total offense (669.7) and scoring offense per game (70.3). The Mustangs look to keep their unblemished record intact on Oct. 4 when they host Midland (Neb.).
Baker (Kan.), who like Morningside enters the week with a 3-0 record, climbs one spot to No. 2 with one first-place vote and 327 points. This is the highest ranking all-time for the Wildcats, dating back to the 1999 season. Baker owns two wins against ranked opponents this season – then-No. 14 Ottawa (Kan.), 20-12, on Sept. 6 and then-No. 15 Sterling (Kan.), 31-30, on Sept. 13. This past weekend, the Wildcats picked up a 24-14 road win at Heart of America Athletic Conference rival Evangel (Mo.).
Tabor (Kan.) accrued 312 points en route to the No. 3 position. The Bluejays are 3-0 on the year and that’s due in large part to a dominant defense, which ranks among the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (1st; 10.3), rush defense (2nd; 53.0), total defense (6th; 246.7) and opponent first downs (9th; 43). Tabor returns home for the first time since Sept. 6 when it hosts Sterling (Kan.) at 7 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) with 296 points and No. 5 Carroll (Mont.) with 281 points round out the top five this week. Faulkner, a program first established in 2007, is making its first-ever appearance among the top five. The Eagles are tied with No. 7 Southern Oregon for the most wins in the NAIA at 4-0. Quarterback Terrell Robinson has keyed much of Faulkner’s offensive success, leading the team in passing yards (1,372), rushing yards (250) and touchdowns (15 passing; four rushing). The Eagles face arguably their toughest test of the season so far when they host No. 17 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Saturday.
Carroll returns to the top five following a one-week hiatus. The Fighting Saints are 2-1 on the year, including a 33-8 victory at then-No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) in last week’s NAIA Football Game of the Week. Tailback Dustin Rinker led the ground attack with 135 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Mac Roche completed 18-of-24 pass for 251 yards and three touchdowns – his third-straight game with three passing scores. Carroll is idle this weekend and returns to the field on Oct. 4 against Montana Western.
William Penn (Iowa) enjoyed the largest positive movement within the poll this week, leaping five places to No. 15, after a dominant 51-20 win over Missouri Baptist. Conversely, four teams dropped at least seven places, headlined by Cumberlands’ (Ky.) 12-spot drop from No. 11 to No. 23. The defending national runners-up are 1-2 on the year, including a 28-27 loss at Union (Ky.) on Sept. 20.
No. 19 Robert Morris (Ill.), No. 20 Marian (Ind.) and No. 24 Kentucky Christian are this week’s newcomers. Robert Morris and Marian – who ended defending national champion Grand View’s (Iowa) winning streak at 16 games, 31-18, on Sept. 20 – were both ranked at some point in 2013. Kentucky Christian is receiving its first Top 25 mention since the 2012 Postseason Poll on Dec. 18, 2012.
The Mid-States Football Association Mideast League, Mid-South Conference East Division and Frontier Conference boast the most teams among the Top 25 with four programs each.
The third regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 29.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Morningside (Iowa) is making its 10th appearance at No. 1 … Three teams have held the No. 1 ranking since the 2013 Preseason Poll: Morningside (Iowa), Cumberlands (Ky.) and Grand View (Iowa) … Carroll (Mont.) leads all institutions with 57 all-time first-place rankings and is followed by former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (Ky.) (25), Saint Xavier (Ill.) (14) and former member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) … Saint Francis boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 184 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 171, Missouri Valley with 106, Morningside with 89 and Saint Xavier with 79 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 38-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Overall, 30 teams have been ranked in 2014 … No. 4 Faulkner is appearing in the top five for the first time in program history … Defending national champion Grand View dropped to No. 8, which is its lowest ranking since being No. 9 on Sept. 16, 2013.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 2 (Sept. 22)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Morningside (Iowa) (14)||3-0||340|
|2||3||Baker (Kan.) (1)||3-0||327|
|8||1||Grand View (Iowa)||2-1||261|
|9||12||Saint Francis (Ind.)||2-1||227|
|10||5||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||3-1||215|
|12||14||St. Francis (Ill.)||3-0||205|
|13||10||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||2-1||167|
|15||20||William Penn (Iowa)||3-1||149|
|17||19||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||3-1||142|
|19||RV||Robert Morris (Ill.)||3-0||105|
|22||15||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||2-1||63|
Others Receiving Votes: Sterling (Kan.) 11; Bacone (Okla.) 10; Avila (Mo.) 7; Concordia (Neb.) 3; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 3; Langston (Okla.) 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (Sept. 15)