UND football picked to finish third in Missouri Valley poll
South Dakota State was pegged to win the league, followed by North Dakota State, UND and Southern Illinois.
After advancing to the FCS quarterfinals for the first time in program history during the spring, the UND football program will have high expectations this fall.
The Fighting Hawks were slated No. 3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll, which was released Tuesday morning.
For the first time since joining the MVFC for the 2008 season, South Dakota State has been tabbed as the league preseason favorite in a poll conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors.
South Dakota State returns 10 offensive starters and 10 defensive starters from its 2021 spring team, which reached the FCS title game and earned a share of the MVFC crown.
SDSU received 24 first-place votes and 454 total points to edge North Dakota State, which earned 435 points and had 18 first-place tallies.
UND and Southern Illinois were third and fourth with 357 and 345 total points, respectively. UNI, which received the remaining first-place vote, had 311 points to finish fifth. Missouri State was picked sixth with 256 points. Illinois State (196), South Dakota (163), Youngstown State (126), Indiana State (112) and Western Illinois (83) rounded out the voting.
The league also released its preseason all-conference team with UND receiving eight honorees.
Quarterback Tommy Schuster, running back Otis Weah and offensive lineman Matt Waletzko were all selected to the first-team offense. Cornerback Evan Holm and linebacker Devon Krzanowski were selected to the second-team defense.
Linebacker Jaxson Turner, safety Jordan Canady and return specialist Luke Skokna were all honorable mentions.