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Wofford's Ayers not worried about team's ranking
#18 in the GPI, Breitenstein probable for Saturday’s game with ankle injury
With the wackiness that was the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision on Saturday, Wofford actually had a chance to be ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history.
THIS WEEK’S GAME
Wofford (5-1, 3-1 Southern Conference) at Appalachian State (5-2, 4-1); 3:30 p.m. Saturday; Kidd Brewer Stadium; Boone, N.C.
The top three teams and six of the top eight lost. But that also included the Terriers, who were knocked off and leapfrogged by Georgia Southern. The Eagles moved to third Monday in The Sports Network and FCS Coaches’ polls, while Wofford dropped to eight and ninth, respectively.
“We’ve got bigger things to worry about right now than what ranking number is next to our name,” Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. “We’re concerned with trying to bounce back from a tough loss, take care of business in the Southern Conference and try to get into the playoffs again.”
Eastern Washington is No. 1 on both polls, but it was far from unanimous. Nine different teams got first-place votes on The Sports Network list and even with only 26 voters on the coaches’ list, there were six differences of opinion.
Georgia Southern, after the 17-9 win against Wofford in Statesboro, Ga., got two votes for the top spot among the coaches and three among the media and sports information directors.
The amount of upsets showed some depth at the FCS level. Previously top-ranked North Dakota State, seemingly head and shoulders above the rest, lost at home to unranked Indiana State, a team that had fallen by only seven to FBS Indiana of the Big Ten. North Dakota State, which owns a 22-7 win against Colorado State, is now fourth in both polls.
James Madison was the only top-five FCS team to survive last weekend and the Dukes’ lone loss this season came against West Virginia. They held the Mountaineers to only 42 points, a respectable number against that high-powered offense. But they couldn’t grab that top spot.
Even teams in the middle of the FCS rankings have some impressive games. Youngstown State (15, 16) opened the season with a 31-17 win at Pitt. Towson (18, 19) trailed by only eight points at the half against LSU. Northern Iowa, a team that beat Wofford in the playoffs last season and lost by only six points this season at Wisconsin, is not ranked, not even receiving any votes in one poll.
“There are so many good teams and good players at this level,” Ayers said. “It’s a great brand of ball. Whether it’s in our league or wherever, there are teams that have the talent and on any given day, any team can be beaten. You’ve got to play at the highest level every week and if you don’t, you’ll come up short. A bunch of people found that out this past weekend.”
The Citadel has wins against Georgia Southern and also No. 13 Appalachian State, but the Bulldogs made only a brief appearance in the polls. Samford also dropped out this week despite only a three-point loss to the Mountaineers.
Running back Eric Breitenstein, who ranks second nationally in rushing yards per game and has 995 this season, is probable for this week’s game at Appalachian State because of an ankle injury suffered at Georgia Southern. … All-conference left tackle Calvin Cantrell suffered a concussion and will not play this week. … Defensive end Josh Roseborough (hip) and linebacker Mike Niam (knee), who did not make the trip to Statesboro, should be ready to go this week to Boone, N.C. … Safety Josh Holt suffered a shoulder injury. He has started five games but is listed behind Kendall Bratcher this week on the depth chart. … Running back Donovan Johnson tested his sprained toe with a few plays Saturday and should also be able to carry a heavier load, especially if Breitenstein cannot play. … Defensive end Zach Bobb (knee) is officially out for the season.