SIU ascends to No. 10 in latest FCS rankings; Illinois State drops seven slots

Southern Illinois’ impressive victory against defending national champion North Dakota State is a major factor why the Salukis are ranked among the best in FCS. (photo courtesy SIU Athletics)

Southern Illinois continues to impress national voters as the Salukis moved up one position to No. 10 in the STATS Perform rankings.

Head coach Nick Hill’s Salukis have shaken off their opening week loss to North Dakota and have now won two straight spring games. A week after shocking the FCS world by dominating North Dakota State 38-14, SIU forged a comeback to slip past Youngstown State 30-22 on the road Saturday.

“It’s tough to go on the road in this league and win,” Hill said following the victory. “In the first half, our backs were against the wall and it didn’t go like you’d want to draw it up, but they just stuck together.”

SIU stands at 3-1 overall, thanks to an October win over Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Salukis are 2-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and face a key showdown when they host No. 4 Northern Iowa (2-1) Saturday in Carbondale.

The Salukis share the No. 10 spot in this week’s poll with Jacksonville State.

Redbirds slide

Meanwhile, Illinois State fell seven spots to No. 22 following its 0-2 start.

Head coach Brock Spack’s Redbirds lost 20-10 at previously third-ranked Northern Iowa Saturday. ISU dropped its spring opener 27-20 to then-unranked South Dakota Feb. 27 at Hancock Stadium in Normal.

Illinois State was ranked 15th in last week’s poll.

The last time ISU started conference play 0-2 was 2016. The Redbirds rallied to win their final three league games that season and made the FCS playoff field with a 6-5 regular season record.

STATS PERFORM FCS TOP 25 (MARCH 8)

1. James Madison (3-0, 1-0 CAA), 981 points (29 first-place votes)

Previous Ranking: 1; Week 4 Result: 20-17 win at Elon

2. Weber State (1-0 Big Sky), 928 (2)

Previous Ranking: 2; Week 4 Result: Postponed at Cal Poly

3. North Dakota (3-0 Missouri Valley), 919 (9)

Previous Ranking: 4; Week 4 Result: 21-10 win over then-No. 20 South Dakota

4. Northern Iowa (2-1 Missouri Valley), 863

Previous Ranking: 3; Week 4 Result: 20-10 win over then-No. 15 Illinois State

5. North Dakota State (3-1, 2-1 Missouri Valley), 778

Previous Ranking: 6; Week 4 Result: 25-0 win at Missouri State

6. Villanova (1-0 CAA), 777

Previous Ranking: 5; Week 4 Result: 16-13 win at Stony Brook

7. Nicholls (3-0, 2-0 Southland), 754

Previous Ranking: 7; Week 4 Result: 31-24 win at Northwestern State

8. South Dakota State (2-1 Missouri Valley), 752

Previous Ranking: 8; Week 4 Result: 45-10 win over Western Illinois

9. Kennesaw State (1-0, 0-0 Big South), 653

Previous Ranking: 9; Week 4 Result: No game

T10. Jacksonville State (5-1, 2-0 Ohio Valley), 652

Previous Ranking: 10; Week 4 Result: 38-16 win at Tennessee State

T10. Southern Illinois (3-1, 2-1 Missouri Valley), 652

Previous Ranking: 11; Week 4 Result: 30-22 win at Youngstown State

12. Sam Houston (1-0 Southland), 557

Previous Ranking: 12; Week 4 Result: No game

13. Albany (1-0 CAA), 538

Previous Ranking: 13; Week 4 Result: 24-20 win at then-No. 14 New Hampshire

14. Chattanooga (2-1, 2-0 Southern), 402

Previous Ranking: 18; Week 4 Result: 25-24 OT win at The Citadel

15. Furman (2-1 Southern), 351

Previous Ranking: 17; Week 4 Result: 44-37 OT win over Samford

16. Eastern Washington (1-1 Big Sky), 317

Previous Ranking: 22; Week 4 Result: 45-13 win over Northern Arizona

17. New Hampshire (0-1 CAA), 272

Previous Ranking: 14; Week 4 Result: 24-20 loss to then-No. 13 Albany

18. Southeastern Louisiana (1-1 Southland), 239

Previous Ranking: 24; Week 4 Result: 25-20 win over McNeese

19. Delaware (1-0 CAA), 233

Previous Ranking: 25; Week 4 Result: 37-0 win over Maine

20. Wofford (1-1 Southern), 222

Previous Ranking: 21; Week 4 Result: Postponed vs. ETSU

21. South Dakota (1-1 Missouri Valley), 185

Previous Ranking: 20; Week 4 Result: 21-10 loss at then-No. 4 North Dakota

22. Illinois State (0-2 Missouri Valley), 148

Previous Ranking: 15; Week 4 Result: 20-10 loss at then-No. 3 Northern Iowa

23. UC Davis (1-0 Big Sky), 140

Previous Ranking: Unranked; Week 4 Result: 27-17 win at Idaho

24. Monmouth (0-0 Big South), 119

Previous Ranking: 23; Week 4 Result: No game

25. UIW (2-0 Southland), 115

Previous Ranking: Unranked; West 4 Result: 42-20 win at Lamar

Dropped Out: Southeast Missouri (16) and Idaho (19)

Others Receiving Votes (schools listed on two or more ballots): VMI 89, Idaho 81, Southeast Missouri 77, Jackson State 55, Richmond 36, Gardner-Webb 32, San Diego 15, ETSU 12, Austin Peay 10, Dixie State 10, Murray State 9, Tarleton 9, Elon 3

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