The Southwest Minnesota State University football team was picked to finish 12th overall in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and was picked to finish last in the NSIC South Division preseason poll. The announcement came Tuesday from the NSIC office in Burnsville, Minn.
Minnesota Duluth was chosen as the overall preseason favorite to earn its fifth straight conference title, as well as the North Division title. Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State all earned a three-way share of the NSIC Conference Title in 2011. The Bulldogs received nine first place votes(coaches cannot vote for their own team) and recorded a total of 217 points. St. Cloud State received six first place votes overall and finished with 211 points. Minnesota State was selected to finish third overall and received one first place vote with a total of 197 points. Minnesota State was selected to win the South Division. Winona State (175) and Augustana (169) rounded out the overall top five teams.
Bemidji State (145) was picked to finish sixth overall, ranking ahead of Wayne State (139), Sioux Falls (116), the University of Mary (112) Concordia-St. Paul (103) and Northern State (94). SMSU (75), Upper Iowa (62), Minot State (46), MSU Moorhead (42) and Minnesota, Crookston (17) rounded out the poll.
In the NSIC South Division poll, Minnesota State earned 46 points, including five first place votes, followed by Winona State with 44 points and two first place votes. Augustana was ranked third with 34 points, followed by Wayne State (32), Sioux Falls (23) and one first place vote, Concordia (19), Upper Iowa(14), and SMSU (12).
Winona State senior running back Rayon Simmons was named the NSIC South Division Offensive Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, while Augustana senior linebacker Austin Luecke was named South Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year. St. Cloud State senior quarterback Phillip Klaphake was named North Division Offensive Preseason Player of the Year, while teammate senior defensive back Marvin Matthews was named North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year.
SMSU senior quarterback Tyler Peschong and junior linebacker J.J. Bobrowicz were both named “Players to Watch” in the conference. Peschong started all 11 games for SMSU in 2011, completing 243 passes and accumulating 2,627 yards with 20 touchdowns. Peschong was named to the All-NSIC second team. Bobrowicz also started all 11 games for SMSU in 2011 and led the team with 71 tackles.
Southwest Minnesota State reports for fall practice Friday, Aug. 10. The Mustangs open the 2012 season on Thursday, Aug. 30, as they host Minnesota Duluth.
Courtesy: Kelly Loft, SMSU