Previously ranked 17th in the nation, Valdosta State (Ga.) surprised No. 2 Winston-Salem State (N.C.) 35-7 in the NCAA Division II national football championship game.
That propelled the Blazers to a unanimous No. 1 ranking in the final American Football Coaches Association poll of the season despite a 12-2 overall record.
A couple of New Mexico Highlands’ Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rivals remained in the AFCA Top 25 after representing the league in the national playoffs.
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