The Eagles, who won the 2010 FCS title and were a semifinalist in 2012, trail only No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 Montana State in the poll. Eastern is ranked just ahead of No. 4 Sam Houston State, the FCS runners-up the past two seasons.
Eastern plays at Sam Houston State on Sept. 28 in a rematch of last year’s 45-42 Bearkat victory in the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs. Montana State, which was defeated at home by the Eagles 27-24 a year ago, plays at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., on Nov. 9.