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Top 25 Lower Division Rankings

Aug. 31, 1998
Aug. 31, 1998

Table of Contents
Aug. 31, 1998

College Football Preview 1998

Top 25 Lower Division Rankings

Compiled by B.J. Schecter

'97 '97 Returning
Division I-AA Record Rank* Starters

This is an article from the Aug. 31, 1998 issue

1 McNeese State 13-2 6 14
Former LSU star running back Cecil (the Diesel) Collins adds
fuel to high-octane Cowboys offense

2 Villanova 12-1 1 15
Quarterback Chris Boden threw for 3,079 yards and I-AA-best 36
touchdowns last season

3 Georgia Southern 10-3 8 15
Junior QB Greg Hill leads option attack that averaged 280.6
rushing yards per game in 1997

4 Montana 8-4 11 16
Recovered from knee injury, QB Brian Ah Yat should approach '96
numbers (3,615 yards, 42 TDs)

5 Delaware 12-2 3 12
Fightin' Blue Hens will have wing T running on all cylinders but
must replace three star linebackers

6 Youngstown State 13-2 9 12
RBs Jake Andreadis and Adrian Brown combined for 1,365 yards and
24 TDs for 1997's I-AA champs

7 Hampton 10-2 7 15
Four starters return from offensive line that paved the way for
223.6 rushing yards per game in '97

8 Eastern Kentucky 8-4 15 14
Ex-UNLV QB Jon Denton joins WR Rondel Menendez (1,073 yards in
'97) to form lethal aerial combo

9 Southern 1-1 12 14
Running back Steve Wofford (1,274 yards) was SWAC offensive
player of the year in 1997

10 Northern Iowa 7-4 -- 15
Can All-America LB Matt Pedersen turn around a defense that gave
up 30.8 points a game in '97?

11 William & Mary 7-4 -- 10
QB Mike Cook is 14-3 as a starter and has thrown at least one TD
pass in each of his career starts

12 Northwestern State 8-4 17 14
Demon schedule features Missouri, McNeese State, Troy State and
Stephen F. Austin

13 Western Illinois 11-2 2 11
Aaron Stecker (1,957 yards and 25 touchdowns last season) is the
best running back in I-AA

14 Hofstra 9-3 14 15
Quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi completed 70.6% of his passes for
3,554 yards and 27 TDs in '97

15 Troy State 5-6 -- 16
Four returning starters, including 6'6", 300-pound tackle Cleve
Roberts, anchor strong O-line

16 Western Kentucky 10-2 5 16
QB Willie Taggart leads a rushing attack that was I-AA's best in
'97 (366.0 yards per game)

17 Eastern Washington 12-2 4 9
RB Mike MacKenzie will keep Eagles offense (a I-AA-best 505.6
yards per game last year) rolling

18 Stephen F. Austin 8-3 18 10
Top six rushers return for Lumberjacks, who must replace their
entire defensive line

19 East Tennessee State 7-4 -- 14
Roadkill? Buccaneers face games at Miami, Mississippi State and
Georgia Southern

20 Murray State 7-4 -- 14
Only three starters lost from defense that was second in I-AA
last year (237.5 yards per game)

21 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 8-3 -- 16
Six-foot-six, 261-pound Slammin' Sam Simmons led SWAC in sacks
with 10 1/2 last season

22 South Carolina State 9-3 19 17
Strong safety Jermaine Derricott had a Mid-Eastern Athletic
Conference-best 103 tackles in '97

23 Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 10-1 16 11
Two 1,000-yard rushers--Antonio Warren (1,151) and Craig Young
(1,038)--are back for the Mustangs

24 Dayton 9-1 23 8
Flyers have the highest winning percentage (.899) of any college
football team in the past 10 years

25 Colgate 7-5 25 13
Junior QB Ryan Vena was Patriot League player of the year in
each of his first two seasons

*In the Sports Network Division I-AA top 25 (at end of regular
season)

'97 '97 Returning
Division II Record Rank* Starters

1 Northern Colorado 13-2 11 17
Two-time defending national champ relies on 6'6", 270-pound DE
Aaron Smith: 15 1/2 sacks in '97

2 Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 11-1 1 16
Eagles are 23-3 over the last two years and have won 21
consecutive regular-season home games

3 New Haven 12-2 2 15
Demanding schedule includes I-AA foes Western Kentucky,
Youngstown State and Robert Morris

4 Pittsburg State (Kans.) 9-2 8 12
Gorillas have won more games in the past 10 years (109) than any
other college football team

5 Nebraska-Omaha 8-3 -- 19
Ed Thompson is first D-II QB to break 1,000-yard mark in both
rushing and passing yards in a season

6 Texas A&M-Kingsville 9-2 4 9
RB John Humphrey should help Javelinas make seventh straight
playoff appearance

7 Northwest Missouri St. 12-1 3 16
Bearcats will follow All-America quarterback Chris Greisen
(2,456 yards, 23 touchdown passes)

8 North Alabama 9-3 13 14
Tailback Greg Manson (1,189 yards, 15 touchdowns) averaged 6.7
yards per carry last fall

9 UC Davis 9-5 14 16
QB Kevin Daft (2,497 passing yards in '97) should lead Aggies to
29th consecutive winning season

10 Slippery Rock (Pa.) 11-2 7 17
Rockets have firepower with QB Randy McKavish and RBs Rick
Magulick and Stan Kennedy

11 Western State (Colo.) 9-3 9 15
QB Eric Hannah (2,672 passing yards, 21 TDs) is back along with
nine other offensive starters

12 Indiana (Pa.) 5-5 -- 19
Former Notre Dame QB Paul Failla, 25, returns to gridiron after
3 1/2-year minor league baseball stint

13 Grand Valley State (Mich.) 9-2 -- 16
Jeff Fox's career numbers: 61.2 pass completion percentage,
4,937 yards, 32 touchdowns

14 North Dakota State 9-3 16 13
The defense, which had four shutouts and allowed 13.6 points per
game, picks up where it left off

15 Bloomsburg (Pa.) 8-2 -- 11
Senior Ed Carothers (7.1-yard average on 18 carries) replaces
D-II player of the year Irv Sigler

16 Chadron State (Neb.) 8-3 -- 20
Senior LB Kevin Homer returns after making 156 tackles in '97,
giving him 386 for his career

17 Ashland (Ohio) 9-2 12 14
RB Matt Otero (103 yards per game) more than tripled his carries
over the final five games

18 Albany State (Ga.) 11-1 5 14
Defense was first in the nation in scoring (7.3 ppg), third in
total defense (201.3 yards per game)

19 North Dakota 8-2 -- 15
Hog heaven: Fighting Sioux offensive line averages 6'5", 302
pounds

20 Angelo State (Texas) 10-2 6 8
Rams are rebuilding, but they should notch their 16th
consecutive winning season

21 New Mexico Highlands 8-3 -- 10
D-II's second-ranked offense last season (486.2 yards per game)
must replace seven starters

22 Catawba (N.C.) 8-3 -- 14
Defense could be better than 1997 unit, which gave up just 12.8
points, 232.9 yards per game

23 Emporia State (Kans.) 7-4 -- 18
Hornets' senior RB Brian Shay has carried for 4,693 yards, 52
touchdowns in his career

24 Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) 9-2 -- 19
QB Jeff Klopfand RB Tim Neelands combined for 2,241 rushing
yards, 32 TDs in '97

25 Winona State (Minn.) 9-2 -- 16
All-America safety Jamey Hutchinson led the nation in
interceptions last fall with 11

*In the NCAA Division II top 16 (at end of regular season)

'97 '97 Returning
Division III Record Rank* Starters

1 Simpson (Iowa) 12-1 3 16
Fullback Guy Leman is centerpiece of Storm offense that averaged
division-best 565.3 yards in '97

2 Mount Union (Ohio) 14-0 1 10
Purple Raiders, last year's D-III champs, have college
football's longest winning streak (28 games)

3 Lycoming (Pa.) 12-1 4 18
Quarterback Jason Marraccini is threat in the air (13 TD passes)
and on the ground (seven TD runs)

4 Trinity (Texas) 10-1 10 15
Tigers have had school-record five straight winning seasons and
are 35-6 over the past four years

5 John Carroll (Ohio) 10-2 7 14
Blue Streaks seek to bounce back from 59-7 shellacking by league
rival Mt. Union in last year's playoffs

6 College of New Jersey 9-3 18 12
Rugged defensive end Tom Ruggia had 19 sacks in '97, tops in the
New Jersey Athletic Conference

7 College of Wooster (Ohio) 9-1 11 18
Scots coming off best finish since 1923; wideout Brandon Good
has caught a pass in 30 straight games

8 Ohio Northern 8-2 23 14
QB Joe Zarlinga is catalyst of an offense that averaged 481.8
yards per game in 1997

9 Mississippi College 8-2 22 13
Defensive back Michael Meurrier and end Bryant Shaw lead Choctaw
D with eight returning starters

10 Wisconsin-La Crosse 7-2 -- 11
All-America safety Mike Scheuer (seven interceptions, 75 tackles
in'97) is heart of experienced D

11 Western Maryland 10-1 15 19
Nine starters are back from Green Terror defense that held
opponents to 7.3 points per game last fall

12 Allegheny (Pa.) 9-2 9 16
Untested trio (Tedd Gozur, Luke Kuffer, Scott Neill) vies to
replace All-America QB Kyle Adamson

13 Rowan (N.J.) 11-1 2 13
Profs are a perennial power (69-15-1 since 1991) but must
replace their entire offensive backfield

14 Catholic (Washington, D.C.)10-1 6 15
Running back Andrew Notarfrancesco (1,307 yards, 21 touchdowns
last season) leads Cardinals

15 Widener (Pa.) 7-3 -- 21
RB Leon Payne (1,028 yards in '97) will carry the offensive load
with the graduation of QB Brian Greene

16 Wisconsin-Whitewater 9-1 5 13
Senior QB Ty Grovesteen set NCAA record with 25 straight
completions over three games last year

17 Albright (Pa.) 9-1 19 7
WR Eric Nemec set Middle Atlantic Conference record for
receiving yards per game (127.4) in '97

18 St. John's (Minn.) 6-4 -- 13
Johnnies are 74-14-2 in the 1990s with five Minnesota
Intercollegiate Athletic championships

19 Augsburg (Minn.) 10-2 14 15
Scott Hvistendahl and Tim Hamer are one of D-III's top receiving
duos, but QB Paul Tetzloff is untested

20 Central (Iowa) 8-2 8 13
Under 28-year-old coach Rich Kacmarynski, the Dutch shoot for
38th consecutive winning season

21 Hanover (Ind.) 10-1 24 12
Wideouts Tarrik Wilson and Andy Mitchel combined for 122
catches, 1,616 yards and 12 TDs in 1997

22 Williams (Mass.) 7-1 -- 12
Ephs, with 10 straight winning seasons, are led by big-play WR
Matt Sigrsit (39 catches, 639 yards)

23 Buffalo State 8-2 12 15
Bengals are 14-0 in regular-season home games over the past
three seasons

24 Dickinson (Pa.) 7-3 -- 13
Red Devils option attack remains strong with RBs Tommy Chung,
Ben Catanese and Craig Sutyak

25 Cortland State (N.Y.) 8-3 -- 8
Running back Omar Darling rushed for 993 yards and a
school-record 16 touchdowns in 1997

*In Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette Division III
top 25 (at end of regular season)

COLOR ILLUSTRATION [Montage of runner being tackled, defender and receiver, and lineman]TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PATRICK MURPHY-RACEY (2) [Runner being tackled; defender and receiver]COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER [Football lineman]