EIU Ranked 16th in Sports Network Top 25 Poll


Published on August 11 2014 9:45 am
Last Updated on August 11 2014 9:45 am
Written by Millie Lange

PHILADELPHIA -- Eastern Illinois has been ranked 16th in the Sports Network Top 25 preseason poll released on Friday morning. The Panthers open the 2014 season in 20 days on August 28 at Minnesota. EIU was ranked No. 11 in the FCS Coaches Top 25 poll released earlier in the week.
The Panthers finished 12-2 last season advancing to the FCS Playoff quarterfinal round.  EIU ended the year ranked No. 4 in both FCS Top 25 polls. EIU will be under the direction of first year head coach Kim Dameron, a former defensive coordinator at EIU during the 2000 season when the Panthers started their current run of nine FCS playoff appearances in the last 14 seasons. EIU returns 14 starters from last year’s squad which won its second straight Ohio Valley Conference title.
Eastern Washington collected 82 first place votes to be ranked the preseason No. 1 by Sports Network. North Dakota State, the three-time defending FCS National Champion, was ranked number two with 62 first place votes. Southeastern Louisiana and New Hampshire both collected first place votes as they were ranked third and fourth.  Montana rounded out the preseason top five.
Jacksonville State was picked sixth in the poll followed by Coastal Carolina, McNeese State, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State in the top ten. Fordham was ranked 11th with Villanova, Towson, Chattanooga, Tennessee State, Eastern Illinois, Sam Houston State, Montana State, William & Mary and Richmond completing the top twenty. The final five schools in the preseason top 25 included Furman, Bethune-Cookman, Northern Arizona, Youngstown State and Maine.
EIU season and single game tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com  The home opener for EIU is Saturday, Sept. 6 against Southern Illinois. The Salukis are the first team also receiving votes in the preseason poll. Tickets for the Panthers non-conference road games at Minnesota, Illinois State and Ohio are also available through the EIU ticket office.