BOXTOROW HBCU Coaches Poll: Aggies solidify No. 1 ranking as latest HBCU team this season to pull off FBS upset

RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina A&T Aggies maintained their stronghold at No. 1 in both the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Polls for the third straight week and distanced themselves from No. 2 Tennessee State.

The Aggies strengthened their status as the top-ranked team in Black College football by becoming the third HBCU squad in as many weeks to knock off an FBS opponent, beating Charlotte 35-31 on Saturday.

In the Coaches poll, the Aggies received 12 first-place votes. Also receiving first-place votes were both Tennessee State (4) and No. 3 Grambling (2). Both sets of Tigers won Saturday; TSU defeated Florida A&M 24-13 in Tampa, while GSU knocked off Jackson State 36-21.

N.C. A&T’s victory over the 49ers from Conference USA continued a trend of weekly upsets by HBCU programs over FBS-level competition this season. Howard’s opening week win at UNLV was the biggest point-spread upset in college football history, and Tennessee State opened its season with the program’s first-ever victory against an FBS opponent with a win at Georgia State.

“That’s huge for us,” Aggies defensive tackle Justin Cates told the Greensboro News & Record. “We know people don’t think we can beat them. We’re a small HBCU, so when people schedule us, they all think, ‘We’ll blow them out; 50-point game.’”

In the rest of the Coaches Poll, South Carolina State moved up four spots to No. 6 this week after defeating Johnson C. Smith 41-0, while Hampton was the only other ranked team to come off a win.

The BOXTOROW HBCU FCS coaches poll is administered by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW. The coaches poll is voted on by the HBCU Football Championship Subdivision coaches.

2017 BOXTOROW FCS HBCU Preseason Football Coaches Poll Week 3

(Records through September 16, 2017)

No. Team W/L Pts
Last Week
1. North Carolina A&T
3-0 173
2. Tennessee State
3-0 152
3. Grambling
2-1 147
4. North Carolina Central 1-1 126
5. Bethune-Cookman 1-2 70
6. South Carolina State 1-1 63
7. Southern 1-2 62
8. Howard 1-2 60
9. Alcorn State 1-2 57
10. Hampton 2-1 40

Note: (1st place votes in parentheses)

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