By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Morningside (Iowa) garners the No. 1 ranking in the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the fifth-straight week, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs, who have now been ranked No. 1 in 14 of the last 20 editions, received 13 first-place votes and 314 points.
Morningside rolled through then-No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), 50-7, this past Saturday to improve to 6-0 on the year, including a 5-0 mark in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. One week after breaking the NAIA single-game record for total yards (916), the Mustangs rushed for a school-record 475 yards, including an individual record 327-yard performance by junior running back Brandon Wegher. Morningside is yet to be held below 50 points this season, while allowing its opponents an average of 14 – third-best scoring defense in the NAIA. The Mustangs have made 32-straight top five appearances.
Baker (Kan.), which checks in at No. 2 with one first-place vote and 302 points, also remained unbeaten (7-0) last Saturday with a 45-3 thrashing of Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) rival Avila (Mo.). The Wildcats’ defense held Avila to only 148 total yards, including a season-low 41 yards rushing. Baker has won 15-straight regular-season contests, but faces a tough test on Saturday when it travels to No. 20 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.).
Carroll (Mont.) is the only other team to hold its ranking from the Oct. 13 edition, as the Fighting Saints claimed the No. 3 spot for the second-straight edition with 290 points. Carroll successfully avenged its season opening loss to Southern Oregon with a thrilling 42-40 victory against the then-fourth ranked Raiders on Oct. 18. The result ties the two clubs atop the Frontier Conference standings at 5-1 with four weeks remaining in the season.
Defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) slides up one spot to No. 4 this week with 278 points. The Vikings have won four-straight since falling to Marian (Ind.) on Sept. 20, including a 47-13 win at Trinity International (Ill.) last Saturday.
Rounding out the top five is No. 5 Faulkner (Ala.) with 259 points. Propelled by a 34-16 win against then-No. 11 Cumberland (Tenn.) on Oct. 18, the Eagles rejoin the quintet following a two week hiatus. Arguably more important about the win is that it keeps Faulkner tied atop the Mid-South Conference West Division with No. 23 Campbellsville – both clubs enter the week at 2-0 in the league. The two sides are scheduled to square off on Nov. 8.
Marian enjoyed the largest positive movement within the poll this week, leaping five spots from No. 21 to No. 16. Last weekend, the Knights earned their second win over a top-10 team in dominant fashion 37-14 against then-No. 6 William Penn (Iowa). Senior running back Tevin Lake tallied his 23rd all-time 100-yard performance, while also scoring his 50th career touchdown in the contest.
Conversely, seven programs dropped three-or-more places in the poll, led by No. 18 Tabor’s (Kan.) eight-spot slide. The Bluejays fell for the second time in the last three weeks with a loss to Friends (Kan.), 14-11, on Oct. 18.
With the aforementioned victory against Tabor, Friends rejoins the Top 25 for the first time since Sept. 15. The 22-ranked Falcons, who are the only newcomer this week, have won four-straight and are tied with No. 17 Ottawa (Kan.) for first-place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference standings – both clubs owns a 5-2 overall record and 4-1 mark in conference action.
The HAAC leads all conferences with four schools ranked in this week’s Top 25 Poll – Baker, No. 10 Missouri Valley, MidAmerica Nazarene and No. 24 Benedictine (Kan.)
The seventh regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Oct. 27.
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 14th all-time appearance at No. 1 … The Mustangs have held the No. 1 ranking in 14 of the last 20 Coaches’ Polls … 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 Morningside … With the streak of Saint Francis (Ind.) snapped on Oct. 13 at 186-straight Top 25 rankings, Carroll now owns the active lead with 175, Missouri Valley with 110, Morningside with 93 and Saint Xavier with 83 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 42-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Overall, 34 teams have been ranked in 2014 … No. 22 Friends is making its first appearance since Sept. 15, 2014 … On Oct. 6, No. 19 Valley City State (N.D.) became the first team from the North Star Athletic Association to crack the Top 25 … No. 2 Baker (Kan.) has never been ranked higher than its current position … Baker, Carroll, Faulkner (Ala.), Grand View (Iowa) and Morningside have been ranked among the top-10 in every edition this season … The Association of Independent Institutions and The Sun Conference are the only leagues not to have a team ranked at some point in the Top 25 this season.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 6 (Oct. 20)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (13)||6-0||314|
|2||2||Baker (Kan.) (1)||7-0||302|
|4||5||Grand View (Iowa)||6-1||278|
|9||13||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||4-2||217|
|11||6||William Penn (Iowa)||5-2||186|
|12||8||Robert Morris (Ill.)||6-1||185|
|13||15||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||5-2||173|
|14||17||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||5-2||156|
|19||22||Valley City State (N.D.)||7-1||101|
|20||23||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||5-1||95|
|21||16||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||5-2||73|
|25||18||St. Francis (Ill.)||4-3||14|
Others Receiving Votes: Taylor (Ind.) 12; Eastern Oregon 6; Langston (Okla.) 4.
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll – No. 5 (Oct. 13)