ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In a vote by the Missouri Valley Football Coaches, sports information directors and selected media members, Western Illinois was picked to finish sixth according to the preseason poll. The MVFC released the preseason poll on Tuesday (July 25), right before the start of the two-day coaches teleconference Media Day.
The Leathernecks, ranked No. 19 in the Athlon Sports preseason ‘Top 25’ poll released last month, return 19 starters and 40 letterwinners from last year’s 6-5 team. Western was one of five MVFC teams in the Athlon preseason ‘Top 25’.
North Dakota State (21 first-place votes) edged South Dakota State (19 first-place votes) for first place, tallying 380 points to the Jackrabbits’ 379. Youngstown State, the 2016 national runner-up, came in third with 290 points. UNI (255) and Illinois State (246) rounded out the top five.
Western received 188 points for sixth place, just ahead of South Dakota (182). Southern Illinois (132) was picked eighth while Missouri State (81) and Indiana State (67) rounded out the poll. This marks the second straight year that WIU was picked to finish sixth.
Six Leathernecks were voted to the All-MVFC preseason team as announced on Monday.
Linebacker Brett Taylor and offensive lineman Jacob Judd, both senior captains, along with junior running back Steve McShane were voted to the preseason team. A trio of juniors earned enough votes to be named Honorable Mention – linebacker Quentin Moon, defensive lineman Khalen Saunders and quarterback Sean McGuire.
Western opens the 2017 season at Tennessee Tech on August 31. Season tickets for the upcoming year are currently on sale. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (309) 298-1190 or purchase online at GoLeathernecks.com. The first home game will take place on Saturday, September 30, against South Dakota.