Western, Illinois State among seven Missouri Valley teams ranked in national polls

Western, Illinois State among seven Missouri Valley teams ranked in national polls

Western Illinois and Illinois State continue to remain among the seven Missouri Valley Football Conference teams are ranked in the national FCS Coaches Top-25 poll (6 are ranked in STATS).

WIU lost 24-12 at second-ranked North Dakota State, which dropped the Leathernecks two spots in each poll. Western is 12 in the STATS rankings and 14th in the Coaches poll. WIU is 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the MVFC.

In the meantime, ISU upset previously No. 4-ranked South Dakota 37-21. The rousing victory propelled the Redbirds up eight spots in the STATS poll; Illinois State jumped to No. 16. The Redbirds moved up three spots in the Coaches FCS Poll to No. 21. ISU is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the league.

While not in the Top 25, Southern Illinois is among those receiving votes. The Salukis won their second straight conference game by besting Indiana State 45-24 in Terre Haute Saturday. SIU is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

Eastern Illinois lost at home to No. 3 Jacksonville State 30-14. The Panthers (5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference) received five votes in the STATS poll.

Three Redbirds honored

A trio of Illinois State Redbirds were honored by the Missouri Valley Football  Conference for their outstanding performances in Saturday’s Homecoming upset of previously unbeaten South Dakota.

Dean Helt (photo courtesy of GoRedbirds.com)

Dean Helt (photo courtesy of GoRedbirds.com)

Senior center Dean Helt, senior kicker Sean Slattery and junior reciever Spencer Schnell all were recognized by the league.

Helt was named the MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week, while Schnell was the Offensive Player of the Week and Slattery was the Special Teams Player of the Week. 

According to GoRedbirds.com, Helt was instrumental in Illinois State rushing for a season-high 331 yards against the previously unbeaten Coyotes.  The Dane, Wisc. native graded out at 88 percent and was credited with five knockdowns, while not allowing a sack. The Redbirds controlled the game on the ground, with sophomore James Robinson running for a career-high 193 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns, including a career-long 87 yard dash. The Redbirds also tallied a season-best 567 yards of total offense, thanks to a career-high receiving performance from Schnell with 191 yards and two scores.

Saturday’s games

Eastern Illinois at Tennessee-Martin

Southern Illinois at South Dakota

Illinois State at Youngstown State

Western Illinois hosts South Dakota State

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