Salukis jump five spots to No. 5 position in national FCS poll
Monday at 7:39 pm
A second win this season against a top-five team in the nation vaulted Southern Illinois to that lofty neighborhood Monday.
The Salukis (4-1 overall, 3-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference) took over the No. 5 spot in the STATS Perform FCS Top 25 poll two days after beating then-No. 4 Northern Iowa, 17-16, in Carbondale.
Enjoying its highest ranking since 2010, the Salukis have yet another test when No. 6 South Dakota State comes to town Saturday, March 20.
But big games have become a welcome addition to the SIU schedule this spring.
“We talk about that,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said Monday in his weekly press conference. “I’ve said that to them each week. You win this game and next week gets to be another big game. (Do) you want to be a .500 team playing another .500 team, or do you want to play top-five opponents and it’s a big game? That’s what we want to do.
“That’s what this league presents,” he said. “When we recruit players, we talk about these games you’re going to play in. … As a competitor, those are the ones you want to play in.”
Unbeatens James Madison (3-0), North Dakota (4-0) and Weber State (2-0) took the top three spots, followed by North Dakota State (4-1) at No. 4. Five MVFC teams are in this week’s top 10.
The Salukis beat the Bison, 38-14, on Feb. 27 to halt NDSU’s 39-game winning streak.
SIU’s only loss this season is to North Dakota in the season opener.
Illinois State, which was No. 22 last week, fell out of the rankings after losing to North Dakota State and falling to 0-3.
The Redbirds received 31 votes in the poll, well below No. 25 Murray State’s 90 points.