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Sports Illustrated's Lower Division Rankings

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DIV I-AA
RANK TEAM 2003 RECORD 2003 RANK
1 DELAWARE 15-1 1
Strong defense (23 total points allowed in four 2003 playoff games) led by three-time all-conference DB Sidney Haugabrook (84 tackles) will carry defending champs
2 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 10-2 10
Salukis' defense welcomes back 10 returning starters, including senior S Alexis Moreland (91 tackles, two INTs)
3 MAINE 7-5 -
Black Bears, with QB Ron Whitcombe (2,428 yards, 21 TDs), open season against powerhouses Montana and Northern Colorado before traveling to I-A Mississippi State
4 COLGATE 15-1 2
Walter Payton Award winner Jamaal Branch (2,026 rushing yards, 25 TDs as junior) leads Red Raiders, who have I-AA-best 24 victories over last two years
5 MONTANA 9-4 12
RB Justin Green (1,146 yards, 14 TDs) should get some help from QB Craig Ochs, Colorado transfer who battled through injury-plagued 2003
6 FURMAN 6-5 -
Florida transfer Ingle Martin immediately steps in as starting QB; LB Mike Killian (134 tackles) leads unit that has nine starters back from I-AA's second-ranked scoring defense
7 WOFFORD 12-2 3
Senior guards Eric Deutsch and Bobby Gibbs return from nation's seventh-ranked rushing offense (258.3 yards per game); gambling D forced I-AA-best 41 turnovers
8 MONTANA STATE 7-6 21
QB Travis Lulay threw for 2,568 yards; Big Sky title could be decided in finale against archrival Montana.
9 GEORGIA SOUTHERN 7-4 25
Veteran team loses only three starters; bruising FB Jermaine Austin (1,470 yards) spearheads top-ranked rushing offense.
10 NORTHERN ARIZONA 9-4 9
Loaded at skill positions; sophomore QB Jason Murrietta (3,472 yards, 29 TDs) and senior RB Roger Robinson (1,178 yards) lead up-and-coming offense.

 
DIVISION II
RANK TEAM 2003 RECORD 2003 RANK
1 NORTH DAKOTA 12-2 2
QB John Bowenkamp, FB David Wisthoff and TB Adam Roland return from last year's national runner-up
2 GRAND VALLEY STATE (MICH.) 14-1 1
Two-time defending champs bring back senior QB Cullen Finnerty (2,764 yards), but the Lakers have a new coach and a revamped offensive line
3 BENTLEY (MASS.) 10-1 21
Duo of senior QB Marc Eddy (3,051 yards, 36 TDs) and senior WR Dallas Mall (79 catches, 19 TDs) led the nation's highest-scoring offense
4 NORTH ALABAMA 13-1 5
At 6'5", 285 pounds, senior DE Skipper Best anchors a stingy defense
5 CARSON-NEWMAN (TENN.) 11-2 6
The nation's top-ranked rushing offense features senior RBs J. J. Chatmon (933 yards) and Ray Hightower (632)
6 INDIANA (PA.) 10-1 9
The defense, led by senior LB Brad Potts (93 tackles), is loaded, with LB Kris Griffin (101 tackles in '02) back after missing last season with an elbow injury
7 SAGINAW VALLEY STATE (MICH.) 12-1 4
Cardinal senior QB Mark Radlinski (3,428 yards, 32 TDs) is a Harlon Hill Trophy favorite; senior LB John DiGiorgio (138 tackles) anchors the D
8 DELTA STATE (MISS.) 7-2 16
Junior All-America WR Ellis Debrow led the nation with 148.8 all-purpose yards per game for top-ranked passing offense (346.4 yards)
9 TEXAS A&M-KINGSVILLE 11-2 3
Led by senior RB Larry Williams (1,570 yards, 19 TDs) and senior DT Wilbert Martin (45 tackles), Javelinas are formidable on both sides of the ball
10 SHIPPENSBURG (PA.) 8-3 -
Senior LB Dan Walsh (78 tackles) leads a unit that had three shutouts and held eight of 11 opponents under 100 yards rushing

 
DIVISION III
RANK TEAM 2003 RECORD 2003 RANK
1 WISCONSIN-LA CROSSE 10-2 7
High-flying Eagles led by QB Steve Tennies (2,522 yards, 20 TDs) and WR Scott Burnoski (1,100 yards).
2 LINFIELD (ORE.) 11-1 3
Senior DE Kelley Bertrand (10 sacks) a monster on D, while senior RB Thomas Ford (1,152 rushing yards) powers explosive offense
3 MOUNT UNION (OHIO) 11-1 2
Last year's national runner-up has won 109 of its last 111 and returns much of D-III's top offense (523.4 yards per game)
4 ST. JOHN'S (MINN.) 14-0 1
With offense under construction, reigning champ will rely on defense (senior DE Jamie Steffensmeier, 121 tackles) in bid to repeat
5 BRIDGEWATER (VA.) 12-2 5
Versatile QB Brandon Wakefield (29 TDs) is top gun in Eagles' prolific attack
6 HAMPDEN-SYDNEY (VA.) 9-1 22
Senior DE James Riley (10 sacks) leads a veteran D, while QB J.D. Ricca (3,032 yards, 29 TDs) powers No. 2-ranked offense
7 ITHACA (N.Y.) 7-3 11
Seeks 34th straight winning season with senior LB Jose Colon (85 tackles) and senior DE Bryan Steele (seven sacks) showing the way
8 ROWAN (N.J.) 7-3 -
Profs call on senior QB Mike Orihel (1,648 yards) and sophomore DB Kevin Bellamy (3 INTs, seven deflections)
9 HARDIN-SIMMONS (Texas) 8-2 -
Cowboys rely on air-tight defense led by senior All-America CB Alex Hansen, who had 16 interceptions over the past two seasons
10 TRINITY (TEXAS) 8-3 -
Senior WR Daniel Lacroix (14.2 yards per catch) is the standout on an offense that returns all 11 starters

 

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