The Fort Hays State football team jumped two spots to No. 5 in the latest edition of NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings after knocking off Northwest Missouri State last Saturday.
The Tigers (8-2) can clinch at least a share of the MIAA title with a win against 0-10 Northeastern State at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Lewis Field Stadium.
Northwest Missouri slipped two spots to No. 6 in the rankings after the 17-16 loss to the Tigers. The top seven teams at the end of the regular season will receive a playoff berth.
Fort Hays would need to jump into one of the top four spots to host a first-round playoff game. The University of Indianapolis currently holds the No. 4 spot, with the No. 12-ranked Greyhounds (9-1) playing host to No. 20-ranked Hillsdale to close out the regular season.
Unbeaten Ferris State and Ouachita Baptist head up the rankings while 9-1 Grand Valley is third.
Southern Arkansas (8-2) sits No. 7, followed by Harding (8-2), Missouri S&T (8-1) and Pittsburg State (7-3). Pitt State dropped two spots after losing to Washburn last week.
Players of the week
Fort Hays State senior linebacker Jose Delgado was named MIAA defensive player of the week Monday after helping the Tigers stymie Northwest Missouri's offense.
Delgado led the Tigers with 10 tackles against the Bearcats. He made one of the biggest plays of the game, stopping the Bearcats on 4th and 1 for no gain at the FHSU 41-yard line in the fourth quarter. On Northwest's final possession, he made another tackle before the Tigers stuffed Northwest on a running play on third down in Bearcat territory.
The FHSU defense limited Northwest to just 178 yards of total offense on 57 plays.
Emporia State's Braxton Marstall was offensive player of the week after throwing for four touchdowns in ESU's 48-0 win over Missouri Southern.
Washburn's James Brania-Hopp took the honor on special teams after finishing with 221 yards in kickoff returns including a 99-yard return for a touchdown in WU's 40-23 win over Pitt State.
AFCA Division II poll
The Tigers moved back into the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll, checking in at No. 22. Northwest Missouri slipped nine spots to No. 19.
Pittsburg State and Central Oklahoma received votes.