Sam Houston a unanimous No. 1 in final Stats Perform FCS Top 25

NCAA Football

(Stats Perform) – Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler has been talking about his team recently facing what he considered to be the three best FCS teams – North Dakota State, James Madison and South Dakota State – in succession.

The description has been amended for the 2020-21 season – his Bearkats are the nation’s best team.

A day after the Bearkats beat South Dakota State 23-21 to capture their first FCS national championship, they were voted a unanimous No. 1 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 on Monday.

Their 10-0 season was cemented by Eric Schmid’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Ify Adeyi with 16 seconds remaining, which gave Sam Houston the title and a seventh win over a nationally ranked opponent.

“You would think for us going into the last drive of the season for a national championship, there would have been some panic on the sideline,” Keeler said. “There was resolve.”

In completing a season that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic last fall, Sam Houston became the second Southland Conference team to win the FCS title, joining Northeast Louisiana in 1987. The Huntsville, Texas, university is leaving the conference this summer to become a Western Athletic Conference member.

South Dakota State was second in the national media poll followed by national semifinalists James Madison and Delaware. The Missouri Valley and CAA led conferences with five selections each.

A national panel selects the Stats Perform FCS Top 25, which this spring included only schools that committed to playing a regular schedule. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

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STATS PERFORM FCS TOP 25 (MAY 17)

1. Sam Houston (10-0, 6-0 Southland), 1,000 points (40 first-place votes)

Previous Ranking: 4; Postseason Results: 21-15 win over Monmouth; 24-20 win over North Dakota State; 38-35 win over James Madison; 23-21 win over South Dakota State

2. South Dakota State (8-2, 5-1 Missouri Valley), 958

Previous Ranking: 2; Postseason Results: 31-3 win over Holy Cross; 31-26 win over Southern Illinois; 33-3 win over Delaware; 23-21 loss to Sam Houston

3. James Madison (7-1, 3-0 CAA), 918

Previous Ranking: 1; Postseason Results: 31-24 win over VMI; 34-21 win over North Dakota; 38-35 loss to Sam Houston

4. Delaware (7-1, 4-0 CAA), 859

Previous Ranking: 5; Postseason Results: 19-10 win over Sacred Heart; 20-14 win over Jacksonville State; 33-3 loss to South Dakota State

5. North Dakota State (7-3, 5-2 Missouri Valley), 827

Previous Ranking: 6; Postseason Results: 42-20 win over Eastern Washington; 24-20 loss to Sam Houston

6. North Dakota (5-2, 4-1 Missouri Valley), 783

Previous Ranking: 7; Postseason Results: 44-10 win over Missouri State; 34-21 loss to James Madison

7. Jacksonville State (10-3, 6-1 Ohio Valley), 732

Previous Ranking: 8; Postseason Results: 49-14 win over Davidson; 20-14 loss to Delaware

8. Southern Illinois (6-4, 3-3 Missouri Valley), 706

Previous Ranking: 14; Postseason Results: 34-31 win over Weber State; 31-26 loss to South Dakota State

9. Weber State (5-1, 5-0 Big Sky), 705

Previous Ranking: 3; Postseason Result: 34-31 loss to Southern Illinois

10. Eastern Washington (5-2, 5-1 Big Sky), 630

Previous Ranking: 9; Postseason Result: 42-20 loss to North Dakota State

11. Monmouth (3-1, 3-0 Big South), 606

Previous Ranking: 10; Postseason Result: 21-15 loss to Sam Houston

12. VMI (6-2, 6-1 Southern), 572

Previous Ranking: 11; Postseason Result: 31-24 loss to James Madison

13. Missouri State (5-5, 5-1 Missouri Valley), 503

Previous Ranking: 12; Postseason Result: 44-10 loss to North Dakota

14. UC Davis (3-2 Big Sky), 405

Previous Ranking: 13; Postseason Result: No game

15. Richmond (3-1 CAA), 402

Previous Ranking: 15; Postseason Result: No game

16. Villanova (2-2 CAA), 356

Previous Ranking: 16; Postseason Result: No game

17. Kennesaw State (4-1, 2-1 Big South), 345

Previous Ranking: 17; Postseason Result: No game

18.(tie) Murray State (5-2 Ohio Valley), 247

Previous Ranking: 19; Postseason Result: No game

18.(tie) Rhode Island (2-1 CAA), 247

Previous Ranking: 18; Postseason Result: No game

20. Southeastern Louisiana (4-3 Southland), 223

Previous Ranking: 20; Postseason Result: No game

21. ETSU (4-2 Southern), 155

Previous Ranking: 22; Postseason Result: No game

22. Sacred Heart (3-2, 3-1 Northeast), 154

Previous Ranking: Unranked; Postseason Result: 19-10 loss to Delaware

23. Austin Peay (4-5, 4-2 Ohio Valley), 153

Previous Ranking: 21; Postseason Result: No game

24. Alabama A&M (5-0, 3-0 SWAC), 152

Previous Ranking: Unranked; Postseason Result: 40-33 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff

25. Nicholls (4-3, 3-3 Southland), 110

Previous Ranking: 23; Postseason Result: No game

Dropped Out: Arkansas-Pine Bluff (24), Northern Iowa (25)

Others Receiving Votes (schools listed on two or more ballots): Holy Cross 64, Northern Iowa 59, Davidson 31, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 30, Southern 19, Samford 16, Maine 12, Duquesne 8, UIW 3

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