Southeastern Louisiana finishes 15th in final FCS polls

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HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana University football team finished ranked 15th in the final 2021 Stats Perform FCS and AFCA FCA Coaches top 25 polls, which were released Monday.

Southeastern’s appearance in the final polls marks the third straight season in which the Lions ended among the nation’s top 25 programs. SLU is one of six FCS programs that has been ranked in the top 25 to end each of the past three seasons, along with North Dakota State, James Madison, South Dakota State, Villanova and Kennesaw State.

The No. 15 ranking also marks Southeastern’s highest under head coach Frank Scelfo and the program’s highest final billing since the 2014 season (14th – Stats Perform, then Sports Network; 12th – AFCA).

The 2021 Lions climbed as high as No. 6 in the national polls on the way to advancing to the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the fourth time in school history. In the postseason, Southeastern opened with a 35-14 home victory over Florida A&M, before falling at eventual national semifinalist James Madison in the second round.

The SLU offense led FCS in scoring offense (45.1 ppg), completion percentage (72.8) and first downs (376), while also ranking among the national top five in third-down conversion percentage (52.1, 2nd), fourth-down conversion percentage (70.0, 5th), passing offense (407.2 ypg, 2nd), passing efficiency (173.35, 2nd) and total offense (551.8 ypg, 2nd).

Behind a stalwart offensive line that featured five All-Southland Conference selections, consensus All-American and Southland Player of the Year Cole Kelley spread the ball around to a multitude of talented skill players highlighted by the all-conference quartet of Austin Mitchell, Nolan Givan, Gage Larvadain and Taron Jones.

The Southeastern defense finished eighth in the FCS with a Southland-high 17 interceptions. All-American Zy Alexander led SLU and finished eighth in FCS with six interceptions. The Lion secondary will feature three All-Americans in 2022 in Alexander, Ferlando Jordan and Brandon Barbee.

National champion North Dakota State was the unanimous No. 1 pick in both final polls. Southeastern and UIW (No. 12 – Stats Perform; No. 13 – AFCA) represented the Southland in both polls.

SLU will open spring practice on March 8. The Lions will open the 2022 season at UL Lafayette on Sept. 3.

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

1. North Dakota State (50) 14-1 1,250 3
2. Montana State 12-3 1,173 7
3. James Madison 12-2 1,165 2
4. South Dakota State 11-4 1,051 11
5. Sam Houston 11-1 1,046 1
6. Montana 10-3 1,008 5
7. Eastern Washington 10-3 924 4
8. Villanova 10-3 919 6
9. ETSU 11-2 879 9
10. Sacramento State 9-3 745 8
11. Kennesaw State 11-2 740 10
12. UIW 10-3 682 13
13. UT Martin 10-3 654 16
14. Missouri State 8-4 531 12
15. Southeastern Louisiana 9-4 522 18
16. Southern Illinois 8-5 504 21
17. UC Davis 8-4 439 14
18. South Dakota 7-5 326 17
19. Holy Cross 10-3 319 24
20. Dartmouth 9-1 281 19
21. Stephen F. Austin 8-4 268 20
22. Jackson State 11-2 259 15
23. Northern Iowa 6-6 132 NR
24. Princeton 9-1 116 23
25. Florida A&M 9-3 114 22

Others Receiving Votes: Mercer 76, South Carolina State 35, Rhode Island 23, Sacred Heart 23, Eastern Kentucky 15, Davidson 12, Harvard 8.

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

1. North Dakota State (24) 14-1 600 3
2. Montana State 12-3 571 9
3. James Madison 12-2 548 2
4. Sam Houston 11-1 520 1
5. South Dakota State 11-4 471 11
6. Montana 10-3 470 5
7. ETSU 11-2 438 8
8. Villanova 10-3 435 7
9. Eastern Washington 10-3 416 6
10. Kennesaw State 11-2 399 4
11. Sacramento State 9-3 358 12
12. UT Martin 10-3 307 13
13. UIW 10-3 297 15
14. Missouri State 8-4 276 10
15. Southeastern 9-4 248 17
16. UC Davis 8-4 205 16
17. Southern Illinois 8-5 203 23
18. Stephen F. Austin 8-4 188 19
19. Jackson State 11-2 136 14
20. South Dakota 7-5 133 20
21. Princeton 9-1 130 18
22. Holy Cross 10-3 117 24
23. Dartmouth 9-1 89 20
24. Florida A&M 9-3 88 22
25. Northern Iowa 6-6 62 25

Others Receiving Votes: Davidson 20, Sacred Heart 18, South Carolina State 17, Eastern Kentucky 13, Mercer 9, Monmouth 6, Chattanooga 5, Harvard 4, Columbia 1, Elon 1, Rhode Island 1.

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