Northwest Missouri State Ends 2015 Season at No. 1

Northwest Missouri State beat Shepherd (W.Va.), 34-7, in the NCAA Division II National Championship game to claim their fifth title overall, and second in the last three years. The Bearcats end the 2015 season as the No. 1 team in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, followed by national runner-up Shepherd in the second spot. This is the Rams’ highest ranking since they were ranked No. 3 on September 26, 2011. West Georgia, Grand Valley State (Mich.) and Colorado State-Pueblo round out the top five.

Tuskegee (Ala.) made the biggest move in the final poll, jumping 12 spots to No. 11 following their run to the Division II quarterfinals. Emporia State (Kan.) also made it to the quarterfinals, and had the second biggest jump, rising 11 spots to finish at No. 8. This is the Hornets’ highest ranking since November 4, 2013 when they were ranked No. 10.

Colorado Mesa is the only team who fell out of the poll, which allowed Indiana (Pa.) to jump in at No. 19. This is the Crimson Hawks first ranking this season as they finished the season at 9-3 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. All 25 teams in the final rankings participated in the playoffs.

2015 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll – December 21, 2015

RankSchool (1st votes) Rec. Pts.Prev.Post-seasonHead Coach
1. Northwest Missouri St. (32) 15-0 800 1 D. No. 5 Shepherd (W.Va.), 34-7, in championship Adam Dorrel
2. Shepherd (W.Va.) 13-1 765 5 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 34-7, in championship Monte Cater
3. West Georgia 12-2 718 7 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 38-23, in semifinals Will Hall
4. Grand Valley St. (Mich.) 12-3 687 12 Lost to No. 5 Shepherd (W.Va.), 34-32, in semifinals Matt Mitchell
5. Colorado St.-Pueblo 12-2 632 4 Lost to No. 12 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 31-7, in quarterfinals John Wristen
6. Ferris St. (Mich.) 11-1 595 2 Lost to No. 12 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 38-34, in second round Tony Annese
7. Slippery Rock (Pa.) 12-2 590 10 Lost to No. 5 Shepherd (W.Va.), 28-16, in quarterfinals George Mihalik
8. Emporia St. (Kan.) 11-3 539 19 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 38-17, in quarterfinals Garin Higgins
9. Midwestern St. (Texas) 10-2 457 9 Lost to No. 4 Colorado St.-Pueblo, 26-17, in second round Bill Maskill
10. Ashland (Ohio) 10-1 442 3 Lost to No. 12 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 45-28, in first round Lee Owens
11. Tuskegee (Ala.) 10-3 438 23 Lost to No. 7 West Georgia, 35-6, in quarterfinals Willie Slater
12. Henderson St. (Ark.) 11-2 424 8 Lost to No. 18 Emporia St. (Kan.), 29-3, in second round Scott Maxfield
13. Minnesota St. 10-2 416 6 Lost to No. 18 Emporia St. (Kan.), 51-49, in first round Todd Hoffner
14. Valdosta St. (Ga.) 9-3 392 17 Lost to No. 7 West Georgia, 27-20, in second round David Dean
15. North Alabama 9-3 388 14 Lost to No. 23 Tuskegee (Ala.), 35-31, in second round Bobby Wallace
16. Humboldt St. (Calif.) 10-2 323 11 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 54-7, in second round Rob Smith
17. Assumption (Mass.) 11-2 319 19 Lost to No. 10 Slippery Rock (Pa.), 41-39, in second round Bob Chesney
18. Indianapolis (Ind.) 10-2 254 13 Lost to No. 4 Colorado St.-Pueblo, 27-14, in first round Bob Bartolomeo
19. Indiana (Pa.) 9-3 213 NR Lost to No. 5 Shepherd (W.Va.), 17-13, in second round Curt Cignetti
20. Charleston (W.Va.) 10-2 193 15 Lost to Indiana (Pa.), 47-21, in first round Pat Kirkland
21t. Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 9-3 176 22 Lost to No. 17 Valdosta St. (Ga.), 61-59, in first round Ken Sparks
21t. Sioux Falls (S.D.) 9-3 176 16 Lost to No. 8 Henderson St. (Ark.), 23-16, in first round Jed Stugart
23. Texas A&M-Commerce 8-4 157 20 Lost to No. 2 Ferris St. (Mich.), 48-30, in first round Colby Carthel
24. Augustana (S.D.) 9-3 87 24 Lost to No. 11 Humboldt St. (Calif.), 45-31, in first round Jerry Olszewski
25. Catawba (N.C.) 9-3 85 25 Lost to No. 23 Tuskegee (Ala.), 26-16, in first round Curtis Walker

Dropped Out: Colorado Mesa (21)

Others Receiving Votes: Colorado Mesa, 66; Bowie St. (Md.), 22; Virginia Union, 12; Winston-Salem St. (N.C.), 11; Newberry (S.C.), 5; Arkansas Tech, 4; Colorado School of Mines, 4; Central Missouri, 3; Minnesota-Duluth, 3; Michigan Tech, 2; New Haven (Conn.), 1; North Greenville (S.C.), 1.

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