N.C. A&T climbing STATS FCS Top 25 after FBS win

(STATS) - Lightning held up the start of North Carolina A&T's game at Kent State for more than two hours Saturday night, but the biggest strike basically occurred after midnight.

N.C. A&T upset Kent State 39-36 in four overtimes - the Aggies' first win over an FBS opponent. Not surprisingly, they climbed in the STATS FCS Top 25 on Monday, moving up five spots to No. 18.

"This is big for the program, the athletics department and the school as a whole," N.C. A&T coach Rod Broadway said after the win. "To do it in four overtimes is really something because I thought they would eventually wear us down because of their scholarship advantage."

North Dakota State remained No. 1 in the rankings after the five-time reigning FCS champion earned its second straight overtime win to start the season. Richmond was No. 2 and Sam Houston State, Jacksonville State and Illinois State followed in the top five.

FCS teams have notched seven wins over FBS teams in the first two full weeks of action. Most have been reserved for the larger FCS conferences, with two teams from both CAA Football and the Missouri Valley claiming wins and the Big Sky and Ohio Valley gaining one each. But N.C. A&T also carved one out for the smaller MEAC, giving it a 2-0 record while the other 10 teams in the conference have combined for only one victory.

The Aggies' FBS win was more than a bit improbable as Broadway turned to third-string quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro after replacing his starter and having the backup get injured. In overtime, the fifth-year senior threw two touchdowns and rushed for one. After Kent State kicked a field goal on the opening possession of the fourth OT, A&T ended the game on Bamiro's 15-yard TD strike to Denzel Keyes.

N.C. A&T, winner of the inaugural Celebration Bowl last year, had lost its three previous games against the FBS by an average of 39.7 points. The Aggies will try to make it two in a row on Saturday when they visit Tulsa of the American Athletic Conference.

North Dakota State (2-0) takes a five-game winning streak against the FBS to Iowa on Saturday. Coach Chris Klieman's Bison beat Eastern Washington 50-44 in overtime this past weekend. They collected 151 of the 169 first-place votes in the poll.

Richmond (2-0), which defeated Norfolk State 34-0, received the other 18 first-place votes. Sam Houston State (1-0) moved up one spot to No. 3 following a bye, Jacksonville State (1-1) also gained a spot after a 34-13 loss to SEC power LSU, and Illinois State (2-0) moved up four spots following its 9-7 upset at Northwestern from the Big Ten.

Chattanooga (2-0) remained at No. 6 and was followed in the Top 10 by Montana (2-0), Eastern Washington (1-1), South Dakota State (1-1) and Northern Iowa (1-1).

James Madison (2-0), which has scored 135 points in two easy wins, checked in at No. 11, followed by Charleston Southern (1-2), William & Mary (1-1), McNeese (1-1), The Citadel (2-0), Western Illinois (2-0), Coastal Carolina (2-0), N.C. A&T, Portland State (1-1) and Youngstown State (1-1).

Rounding out the Top 25 were No. 21 Villanova (1-1), New Hampshire (1-1), Colgate (0-1), Northern Arizona (0-2), and Albany (2-0), which moved into the rankings for the first time since Oct. 27, 2014.

Albany's inclusion helped CAA Football join the Missouri Valley with a poll-best six teams each. Nine conferences have at least one ranked team.

North Dakota fell out of the Top 25 after suffering its second straight close defeat.

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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