Chattanooga clamps down on No. 5 ranking

BY foxsports • October 3, 2016

(STATS) - Defensive tackle Justin King pulled together his teammates on the Chattanooga defense for a little pep talk after the first quarter of Saturday's win over East Tennessee State.

He wasn't happy with how ETSU had moved the ball in the first quarter. It didn't matter that the Mocs hadn't given up a point and were winning the game.

The Mocs are accustomed to a high level of defense. In fact, this year's unit is ranked No. 1 in the FCS and has fueled the three-time defending Southern Conference champions to a No. 5 ranking in the STATS FCS Top 25.

There wasn't much movement near the top of the national media poll on Monday, with the top seven teams remaining unchanged: North Dakota State was a unanimous No. 1 followed by Sam Houston State, Jacksonville State, Eastern Washington, Chattanooga, Richmond and James Madison.

Chattanooga beat ETSU 37-7 to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1979. The Mocs surrendered only 132 yards, the fewest they had allowed in over a year. They're leading the FCS in fewest points (8.4) and yards (202.8) allowed per game.

"We talk about playing up to our potential. That's what we talk about," junior free safety Lucas Webb said. "We talk to each other about playing up to our standard. We try to play to what we expect to be as a defense and be who we want to be as a defensive unit."

Head coach Russ Huesman was a sophomore defensive back the last time Chattanooga was 5-0. The Mocs seniors, including five defensive starters, have 32 wins in their careers and are one shy of tying the school record.

Up next are two of Chattanooga's biggest games. On Saturday, the Mocs host Mercer, which handed them a 17-14 loss last year - the only defeat in their last 17 SoCon games. It forced them to share last year's conference title with The Citadel, which they visit on Oct. 15.

North Dakota State (4-0), the five-time reigning FCS champion, just beat the team with which it shared the last two Missouri Valley Conference titles, Illinois State, 31-10 as quarterback Easton Stick threw three touchdown passes.

The Bison received 164 first-place votes in this week's poll.

Sam Houston (4-0) routed rival Stephen F. Austin 63-28 in the Southland Conference, while two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State (3-1) had a bye. Eastern Washington (4-1) topped UC Davis 63-30 in the Big Sky Conference. In CAA Football, Richmond (4-1) beat Towson 31-28 and James Madison (4-1) defeated Delaware 43-20.

The rest of the Top 10 was Charleston Southern (3-2), which edged Coastal Carolina 59-58 in two overtimes; The Citadel (4-0), a 37-14 winner over Western Carolina; and Montana (3-1), which stopped defending Big Sky champ Southern Utah 43-20.

The Missouri Valley had four of the next five spots with No. 11 Northern Iowa (2-2), No. 12 South Dakota State (2-2), No. 13 Western Illinois (3-1) and No. 15 Youngstown State (3-1). CAA member Villanova (4-1) was No. 14.

Albany (4-0), which had the weekend off, was No. 16 followed by Coastal Carolina (3-2), North Carolina A&T (3-1), Eastern Illinois (3-2) and McNeese (3-2).

Then it was Cal Poly (3-2), Harvard (3-0), Illinois State (2-3), North Dakota (3-2) returning to the poll at No. 25 and Central Arkansas (4-1) moving into it at No. 25.

William & Mary and Indiana State fell out of the Top after losses.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the STATS FCS Top 25. In the voting, 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.

The Top 25 is released every Monday afternoon during the regular season, except for Sunday morning, Nov. 20, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff field. A final Top 25 will follow the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

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