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RAMS NOTEBOOK: ASU moves to No. 9 in regional rankings after fifth straight win

ALBANY — Albany State is on its way up.

With their fifth win in a row Saturday, the Rams rose to No. 9 in the latest NCAA Division II Super Region Two rankings, which were released Monday.

The top six teams from each of the four regions are guaranteed spots in the Division II playoffs.

The top two teams in each region get an opening-round bye, while No. 4 will host No. 5 and No. 3 will host No. 6 on Nov. 17.

The Rams jumped past Wingate and Newberry in the poll but fell behind UNC Pembroke, which debuted in the rankings at No. 8 after defeating Newberry on Friday.

ASU (6-3) is trying to make the playoffs for the ninth season in a row and has an opportunity to move up in the poll with Saturday’s game against No. 7 Fort Valley State (7-2).

Miles (8-1) is the top-ranked team in Super Region Two, and if the Golden Bears and ASU both win Saturday then they will meet in the conference championship game Nov. 10 in Atlanta.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ASU junior Quintory Braswell, who likely set a school record Oct. 20 against Clark Atlanta with a 100-yard interception return for a TD, was key in Saturday’s victory against Benedict as well.

He returned a punt 70 yards for a TD to seal ASU’s 24-13 victory.

Braswell, who was selected as the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week, recorded 109 yards on four punt returns.

The win was ASU’s fifth in a row after starting the season with a 1-3 record. The Rams play again Saturday at 2 p.m., in the annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus against Fort Valley State.