Northwest Missouri State Finishes 2016 Season at No. 1

Northwest Missouri State used a dominating defense in freezing conditions to beat No. 2 North Alabama, 29-3, for their second straight NCAA Division II national championship. The Bearcats, who stayed at No. 1 in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 poll for the entire season, extended their win streak to a program record 30 straight. No. 2 North Alabama ends their season at 11-2 and appeared in the championship game for the first time since 1995. Shepherd (W.Va.), Grand Valley State (Mich.) and Ferris State (Mich.) round out the top five.

Ferris State made the biggest jump in the poll, moving up 10 places to finish at No. 5 coming off of their semifinal run in the playoffs. Florida Tech, Colorado Mesa and Assumption (Mass.) fell out of the final Top 25, making room for North Greenville (S.C.) and Tuskegee (Ala.). The Crusaders were unranked in the final regular season poll, but qualified for the playoffs and made a run to the quarterfinals, earning their No. 17 ranking. The Golden Tigers also made the playoffs after being unranked, but lost to North Greenville in the second round, earning a No. 20 final ranking.

2016 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll – December 19, 2016

RankSchool (1st votes) Rec. Pts.Prev.Post-seasonHead Coach
1. Northwest Missouri St. (30) 15-0 750 1 D. No. 7 North Alabama, 29-3, in national championship Adam Dorrel
2. North Alabama 11-2 720 7 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 29-3, in national championship Bobby Wallace
3. Shepherd (W.Va.) 13-1 675 3 Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 23-13, in semifinals Monte Cater
4. Grand Valley St. (Mich.) 12-1 631 2 Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 47-32, in quarterfinals Matt Mitchell
5. Ferris St. (Mich.) 12-3 629 15 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 35-20, in semifinals Tony Annese
6. Harding (Ark.) 13-1 600 5 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 35-0, in quarterfinals Ronnie Huckeba
7. California (Pa.) 11-1 577 6 Lost to No. 3 Shepherd (W.Va.), 41-30, in quarterfinals Gary Dunn
8. Sioux Falls (S.D.) 12-1 547 4 Lost to No. 5 Harding (Ark.), 27-24 OT, in second round Jed Stugart
9. Texas A&M-Commerce 10-2 457 8 Lost to No. 2 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 55-32, in second round Colby Carthel
10. Emporia St. (Kan.) 11-2 437 9 Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 44-13, in second round Garin Higgins
11. LIU-Post (N.Y.) 12-1 436 10 Lost to No. 3 Shepherd (W.Va.), 40-21, in second round Bryan Collins
12. Indiana (Pa.) 10-2 422 11 Lost to No. 6 California (Pa.), 44-23, in second round Curt Cignetti
13. North Carolina-Pembroke 10-2 400 12 Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 41-17, in second round Shane Richardson
14. Minnesota-Duluth 10-2 282 13 Lost to No. 9 Emporia St. (Kan.), 59-26, in first round Curt Wiese
15. Colorado School of Mines 10-3 276 21 Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 38-17, in second round Gregg Brandon
16. Newberry (S.C.) 10-2 219 14 Lost to Tuskegee (Ala.), 35-33, in first round Todd Knight
17. North Greenville (S.C.) 9-5 201 NR Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 38-0, in quarterfinals Jeff Farrington
18. Valdosta St. (Ga.) 8-3 199 19 Lost to No. 12 North Carolina-Pembroke, 24-21, in first round Kerwin Bell
19. Ashland (Ohio) 9-2 189 16 DNQ Playoffs Lee Owens
20. Tuskegee (Ala.) 9-3 162 NR Lost to North Greenville (S.C.), 45-26, in second round Willie Slater
21. Central Missouri 9-3 158 20 Lost to No. 5 Harding (Ark.), 48-31, in first round Jim Svoboda
22. Southwest Baptist (Mo.) 10-2 148 17 Lost to No. 21 Colorado School of Mines, 63-35, in first round Robert Clardy
23. Fairmont St. (W.Va.) 10-2 136 18 Lost to No. 11 Indiana (Pa.), 62-13, in first round Jason Woodman
24. Midwestern St. (Texas) 8-3 110 22 Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 65-34, in first round Bill Maskill
25. Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 9-3 104 24t Lost to No. 4 Sioux Falls (S.D.), 34-21, in first round Victor Santa Cruz

Dropped Out: Florida Tech (23), Colorado Mesa (24t), Assumption (Mass.) (25).

Others Receiving Votes: Colorado Mesa, 89; Florida Tech, 87; Assumption (Mass.), 55; Winston-Salem St. (N.C.), 34; Virginia St., 10; Texas A&M-Kingsville, 4; Edinboro (Pa.), 3; Notre Dame (Ohio), 2; Colorado St.-Pueblo, 1.

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