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
|Rank||School (1st votes)||Rec.||Pts.||Prev.||Post-season||Head 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.