EIU Football Ranked 25th in Final FCS Coaches Poll

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Published on January 7 2013 9:11 pm
Last Updated on January 7 2013 9:11 pm
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. Eastern Illinois football was ranked 25th in the final FCS Coaches poll released Monday afternoon following the FCS Championship game played over the weekend in Frisco, Texas.  EIU was listed as the first team also receiving votes in the Sports Network poll to finish the season at No. 26.

The Panthers were 7-5 on the season winning the Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship to advance to the programs 14th FCS playoff appearance.  EIU lost in the opening round of the FCS playoffs at South Dakota State.

EIU was led on offense by OVC Player of the Year Erik Lora who set the FCS single season record for receptions.  Lora will return for his senior season along with fellow Walter Payton Award finalist, junior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.  Lora placed 4th in the Payton Award voting while Garoppolo was 10th in the voting.  First year head coach Dino Babers was named the OVC Coach of the Year and was the AFCA Region Coach of the Year.

North Dakota State was first in both polls following the Bison second straight FCS National Championship.  Sam Houston State was second after losing to NDSU in the championship game.  Georgia Southern, Eastern Washington and Montana State rounded out the top five in the Coaches poll.

Old Dominion was sixth followed by Wofford, Appalachian State, Illinois State and Central Arkansas in the top ten.  Cal Poly was 11th followed by Stony Brook, New Hampshire, Lehigh, Towson, Villanova, South Dakota State, Richmond, Eastern Kentucky and Northern Arizona.

James Madison was 21st with Wagner, Bethune-Cookman, Coastal Carolina and Eastern Illinois rounding out the top 25 in the FCS Coaches poll.

In the Sports Network poll, Patriot League champion Colgate was 25th with Eastern Illinois 26th by 54 votes.

The Panthers will open the 2013 season August 31 at San Diego State.