Southeastern climbs to 11th in FCS Polls heading into home opener

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SLU Lions football and Cole Kelley

HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana University football team moved up to No. 11 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 and AFCA FCS Coaches Top 25 polls released on Monday.

The Lions (4-1, 2-0 Southland) moved up three spots in both polls. Off to its best five-game start to a season since 1980, SLU has achieved its highest ranking in the polls since the 2014 season.

Southeastern closed out its road swing to open the 2021 season with a 58-48 win at No. 25 Nicholls on Saturday. The Lions finished with 573 total yards and recorded 32 first downs in the victory. Senior quarterback Cole Kelley, named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season earlier on Monday, threw a career-high five touchdowns to go with 406 yards on 29-for-38 passing, while also rushing for a pair of scores.

Kelley’s favorite target was Austin Mitchell, who finished with nine catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Kelley also connected with Nick Kovacs, Damien Dawson, Gage Larvadain and Ivan Drobocky on scoring passes.

Alexis Ramos was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week after finishing with a game-high 12 tackles versus the Colonels. Zy Alexander and Alphonso Taylor each recorded interceptions in the win.

Larvadain made the game’s biggest play on Saturday in Thibodaux. His 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the third quarter quelled a Colonel rally and earned him conference Special Teams Player of the Week accolades.

The high-powered SLU offense leads the nation in third down conversion percentage (58.1, 1st) and completion percentage (74.1, 1st), while also ranking among the FCS leaders in first downs (154, 2nd), passing offense (406.4 ypg, 3rd), red zone offense (96.4, 5th), scoring offense (48.6 ppg, 2nd), tackles for loss allowed (2.8 per game, 2nd), passing efficiency (172.36, 4th), time of possession (33:48, 9th) and total offense (556.6 ypg, 3rd).

Defensively, Southeastern is 11th in FCS with eight interceptions. Taylor and Alexander lead the team with two picks apiece, while Justin Douglas, Justin Dumas, Ferlando Jordan and Terrell Carter each have one apiece.

Southeastern is joined by Southland Conference foe UIW (No. 18) in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25, while Nicholls is among the teams receiving votes. Both the Cardinals and Colonels are also receiving votes in the AFCA FCS Coaches Top 25.

After playing the first five games of the season on the road, SLU opens its home schedule on Saturday, hosting HBU at 4 p.m. for Homecoming The game will be televised on ESPN+, while also being heard in the Hammond area on Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/WFPR 1400 AM, as well as online at www.kajun107.net. The first 300 students will receive a free t-shirt.

Stats Perform FCS Top 25
Team (First-place votes) Record Points Prv.

1. Sam Houston (39) 5-0 1,219 1
2. Eastern Washington (9) 6-0 1,186 4
3. North Dakota State (2) 5-0 1,174 5
4. Southern Illinois 5-1 1,081 8
5. Montana 4-1 996 6
6. Villanova 4-1 977 11
7. South Dakota State 4-1 972 2
8. James Madison 4-1 906 3
9. Montana State 5-1 881 10
10. ETSU 6-0 796 12
11. Southeastern 4-1 741 14
12. Rhode Island 5-0 694 18
13. UC Davis 5-1 564 7
14. Delaware 3-2 559 9
15. Kennesaw State 4-1 543 17
16. Northern Iowa 3-2 410 16
17. UT Martin 4-1 409 21
18. UIW 4-1 344 20
19. Weber State 2-3 330 19
20. Missouri State 3-2 285 15
21. South Dakota 4-2 229 NR
22. North Dakota 2-3 216 13
23. New Hampshire 3-2 124 22
24. Jacksonville State 3-3 122 24
25. Princeton 4-0 88 NR

Others Receiving Votes: Mercer 78, Jackson State 63, VMI 60, Duquesne 48, Harvard 36, William & Mary 28, Central Arkansas 21, Youngstown State 20, Stephen F. Austin 11, Nicholls 10, Eastern Kentucky 9, Prairie View 8.

AFCS FCS Coaches Top 25
Team (First-place votes) Record Points Prv.

1. Sam Houston (27) 5-0 698 1
2. Eastern Washington (1) 6-0 664 4
3. North Dakota State 5-0 639 5
4. Southern Illinois 5-1 588 7
5. Villanova 4-1 566 9
6. Montana 4-1 562 6
7. James Madison 4-1 508 2
8. South Dakota State 4-1 483 3
9. Montana State 5-1 475 11
10. East Tennessee State 6-0 467 13
11. Southeastern 4-1 413 14
12. UC Davis 5-1 346 8
13. Kennesaw State 4-1 336 17
14. Rhode Island 5-0 334 20
15. Delaware 3-2 261 10
16. UT Martin 4-1 253 21
17. Northern Iowa 3-2 244 12
18. Weber State 2-3 207 18
19. Harvard 4-0 142 22
20. Princeton 4-0 125 24
21. South Dakota 4-2 104 NR
22. Jacksonville State 3-3 102 23
23. Missouri State 3-2 95 16
24. North Dakota 2-3 94 15
25. Jackson State 4-1 73 NR

Others receiving votes: Mercer 66, Eastern Kentucky 50, New Hampshire 44, VMI 43, UIW 26, Duquesne 19, William & Mary 19, Florida A&M 10, Central Arkansas 9, Yale 8, North Carolina A&T 7, Stephen F. Austin 6, Chattanooga 5, Holy Cross 3, Dartmouth 2, Elon 2, Monmouth 1, Nicholls 1.

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