Southeastern enters bye week ranked 16th in both FCS national polls

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Southeastern's CJ Turner at CCSU
(Photo: Randy Bergeron)

HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana University football team sits at No. 16 in both the latest Stats Perform FCS Top 25 and the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 polls, which were both released Monday.

SLU (2-1) maintained its ranking in the coaches’ poll while remarkably dropping one spot in the Stats Perform poll, despite a 56-10 road win over Central Connecticut State in the Lions’ nonconference finale last Saturday.

In the win over the Blue Devils, who were 11-2 and represented the Northeast Conference in the FCS playoffs in 2019 before taking the 2020 season off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SLU finished with 571 total yards, 31 first downs and did not attempt a punt in its third of five straight games away from home to open the season.

Reigning Walter Payton Award winner Cole Kelley threw for 444 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdown passes in the win. Kelley has thrown for 1,202 yards (2nd in FCS) and 10 touchdowns (5th in FCS), while also leading the nation with a 74.4 completion percentage.

CJ Turner (five catches, 119 yards, two touchdowns) and Austin Mitchell (5-116-1 TD) – two of 12 active FCS players with 2,000 or more career receiving yards – were the top targets for Kelley. Cephus Johnson III also caught a touchdown pass, while he, Kelley, Jessie Britt and Taron Jones all rushed for scores in Saturday’s win.

Through three games, the SLU offense ranks among the FCS national leaders in total offense (553.3 ypg, 4th), scoring offense (49.0 ppg, 5th), passing offense (411.7 ypg, 4th), third-down percentage (55.6, 2nd) and first downs (93, 2nd).

The Lion defense allowed CCSU 290 total yards – the fewest allowed by a Southland school this season – and forced a season-high four turnovers in Saturday’s win. Alphonso Taylor, Justin Dumas and Terrell Carter all had interceptions for SLU, while Darrius Harry recovered a fumble. Herman Christophe led SLU with 10 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Southeastern was the lone Southland Conference team ranked this week. Nicholls is receiving votes in both polls, while UIW garnered votes in the Stats Perform poll.

The Lions will have a week off before opening Southland Conference play at McNeese on Oct. 2 at noon in Lake Charles.

Stats Perform FCS Top 25
Team (First-place votes) Record Points Prv.
1. Sam Houston (31) 2-0 1,210 1
2. South Dakota State (8) 2-0 1,184 2
3. James Madison (9) 3-0 1,179 3
4. Montana (2) 2-0 1,100 4
5. North Dakota State 3-0 1,071 5
6. Eastern Washington 3-0 942 7
7. Southern Illinois 2-1 870 8
8. Delaware 2-1 837 6
9. Jacksonville State 2-1 771 10
10. North Dakota 2-1 753 11
11. Villanova 3-0 747 12
12. UC Davis 3-0 718 14
13. Montana State 2-1 672 13
14. Weber State 1-2 622 9
15. ETSU 3-0 530 16
16. Southeastern 2-1 517 15
17. Northern Iowa 2-1 414 18
18. Missouri State 1-1 412 17
19. Austin Peay 2-1 357 19
20. Monmouth 2-1 319 20
21. New Hampshire 3-0 198 23
22. VMI 2-1 178 22
23. Kennesaw State 2-1 135 24
24. Richmond 2-1 115 21
25. Central Arkansas 1-2 110 25

Others Receiving Votes: Rhode Island 77, Alabama A&M 36, Murray State 34, Chattanooga 25, Nicholls 24, Furman 23, Stephen F. Austin 17, Duquesne 15, UIW 14, Samford 10, South Dakota 9, Jackson State 3.

AFCS FCS Coaches Top 25
Team (First-place votes) Record Points Prv.
1. Sam Houston (24) 2-0 696 1
2. James Madison (3) 3-0 667 2
3. South Dakota State (1) 2-0 636 3
4. Montana 2-0 586 5
5. North Dakota State 3-0 583 4
6. Eastern Washington 3-0 508 6
7. Villanova 3-0 490 T9
8. Southern Illinois 2-1 455 T9
9. Jacksonville State 2-1 447 11
10. UC Davis 3-0 403 12
11. Delaware 2-1 399 7
12. Montana State 2-1 385 13
13. North Dakota 2-1 381 14
14. Northern Iowa 2-1 354 15
15. Weber State 1-2 313 8
16. Southeastern 2-1 295 16
17. ETSU 3-0 290 17
18. Missouri State 1-1 209 19
19. Monmouth 2-1 199 20
20. Austin Peay 2-1 143 21
21. Richmond 2-1 126 18
22. New Hampshire 3-0 105 23
23. Chattanooga 1-2 99 22
T24. Central Arkansas 1-2 67 24
T24. Kennesaw State 2-1 67 NR

Others Receiving Votes: Rhode Island 28, South Dakota 24, VMI 23, Furman 22, Northern Arizona 19, Murray State 13, Nicholls 12, Alabama A&M 10, Stephen F. Austin 9, Gardner Webb 7, Illinois State 6, Princeton 6, Fordham 5, Duquesne 4, Harvard 3, Jackson State 3, Florida A&M 1, Holy Cross 1, UT Martin 1.

TICKETS
For ticket information, contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net. Southeastern will continue offering mobile ticketing as the primary source for securing tickets for the 2021-22 season. All tickets will be available via e-mail or text message in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @LionUpFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

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