In the FCS Huddle: Redhawks soar into Top 25

Philadelphia, PA ( – Southeast Missouri State is a team that
few were paying attention to at the start of the season.

There didn’t seem to be much reason after the Redhawks had three-win seasons in
each of the past three years. They were even picked to finish eighth in the
Ohio Valley Conference’s two preseason polls.

The Redhawks have forced people to take a closer look.

Some opponents probably wish they had looked even closer.

After Southeast Missouri beat a nationally ranked opponent for the second
time in three weeks this past weekend, the Redhawks moved into The Sports
Network FCS Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2010 season. They
entered the poll on Monday at No. 23, two spots ahead of the OVC team they just
upset, Tennessee State, 28-21.

The top eight teams in the Top 25 didn’t change after all won games this past
weekend. North Dakota State remained at No. 1 ahead of No. 2 Eastern

Southeast Missouri hopes to keep climbing the rankings. On Sept. 20, the
Redhawks slipped past then-No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana. In between the two
upsets, they won a road matchup at UT Martin, so they have won three straight
games to become a surprising 4-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play under their
new coach, Tom Matukewicz.

“We are playing very well as a team because we are playing hard, smart and
together,” said Matukewicz, who arrived at Southeast Missouri from the
University of Toledo, where he was the defensive coordinator in the 2012 and
’13 seasons. “We feel like we have the best dual-threat quarterback in the FCS.
Also, our team has dominated on special teams because of our punter and

The Redhawks lost by only six points to the University of Kansas early last
month and they have since overcome an injury to All-OVC wide receiver Paul
McRoberts during the winning streak. It’s helped that quarterback Kyle Snyder
has been outstanding as a fifth-year senior after struggling with injuries and
inconsistency in his first two seasons in Cape Girardeau following his transfer
from Ohio University.

The defense also has done just enough at the right time, with sophomore
linebacker Roper Garrett, its leading tackler, filling the stat sheet. Also,
long-range place kicker Ryan McCrum and punter Alex Knight have been difference

Midway through their 12-game regular season, the Redhawks are one of four
ranked teams from the OVC, which ties CAA Football for the second-most in the
FCS behind the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s seven teams.

No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 Eastern Washington were reminded this past
weekend of the toughness of conference games.

NDSU (5-0), which collected all but three of the 156 first-place votes in the
poll Monday, trailed after three quarters at Western Illinois before they
rallied to a 17-10 win in the Missouri Valley. EWU (5-1), which had the other
three first-place votes, held off Idaho State for a 56-53 Big Sky win, but star
quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a broken right foot in the process. He is
expected to be sidelined for 3-6 weeks.

After the top two teams, No. 3 Coastal Carolina (6-0), No. 4 New Hampshire
(4-1), No. 5 McNeese State (3-1), No. 6 Villanova (4-1), No. 7 Montana (4-2)
and No. 8 Jacksonville State (4-1) were unchanged as well. They were followed
by No. 9 Southeastern Louisiana (4-2) and No. 10 William & Mary (4-1).

The next 10 were No. 11 Montana State (4-2); No. 12 Southern Illinois (5-1);
No. 13 Chattanooga (3-2); No. 14 Fordham (5-1); No. 15 Illinois State (4-0);
No. 16 Youngstown State (4-1); No. 17 Eastern Kentucky (5-0); No. 18 Bethune-
Cookman (4-1); No. 19 South Dakota State (3-2), which tumbled 10 spots after
losing to Illinois State; and No. 20 Indiana State (4-1).

Rounding out the Top 25 were No. 21 Northern Iowa (2-3), which fell 11 spots
after falling to Indiana State; No. 22 Richmond (3-2); Southeast Missouri; No.
24 Charleston Southern (5-0), which is making its first appearance in the
rankings this season; and No. 25 Tennessee State (4-2).

Two CAA Football teams, Albany and Delaware, fell out of the Top 25 following

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors,
broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the Top 25. In the voting,
a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the
way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon,
except for the final weekend of the regular season, when it will be released
Sunday morning, Nov. 23, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff

The Sports Network will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship
game, which will be held Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas.