— The South Dakota State University football team will enter the 2014 season with a pair of top-10 preseason rankings as the Jackrabbits checked in at No. 10 in the Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll.
The Jackrabbits were one of three Missouri Valley Football Conference teams tabbed in the top 10, joining three-time defending national champion North Dakota State (second) and Northern Iowa (ninth). Youngstown State also cracked the top 25 at No. 24, while Southern Illinois was left just outside the top 25 as the top team receiving votes. Illinois State, Western Illinois, Missouri State and Indiana State also received at least one vote in the poll, which was conducted among media and sports information directors across the country.
In addition, two of the Jackrabbits’ non-conference opponents — Cal Poly and Southern Utah — received votes.
Eastern Washington, which eliminated the Jackrabbits in the second round of the 2013 FCS playoffs, earned the top spot in the Sports Network poll. The Eagles collected 82 first-place votes to finish with 3,589 points. NDSU was second with 3,540 points and 62 first-place votes, followed by Southeastern Louisiana with two first-place votes and 3,300 points and New Hampshire with one top vote and 3,090 points.
The Jackrabbits, coached by John Stiegelmeier, were also ranked 10th in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll, which was announced earlier in the week. SDSU, which has reached the FCS playoffs each of the last two seasons and three times in five years, opens the 2014 season Aug. 30 at Missouri in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.