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Monday, 18 August 2014 20:42

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Ranked Sixth in National Preseason Poll

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Football Team is ranked No. 6 in the 2014 AFCA NCAA Division II National Preseason Coaches Poll. AFCA is the American Football Coaches Association.

Northwest Missouri State (15-0), who beat the Bears in last year's Division II Championship game, enters the year ranked first.

With regards to other South Atlantic Conference schools, Carson-Newman (10-3) is ranked No. 16 in the poll while Newberry (9-3) is receiving votes.

The Bears are coming off a 13-2 campaign last year and a third straight South Atlantic Conference Championship. Lenoir-Rhyne also finished the year ranked No. 2 in the nation and set a school single-season record for wins.

Lenoir-Rhyne ranked first last year in rushing offense in NCAA Division II at 370.9 yards per game and set the all-time NCAA single-season record for rushing yards (5,563) as well.

The Bears also return 18 starters including four players who garnered All-American accolades last year: senior defensive lineman Blake Baker (Bethlehem, N.C.), senior linebacker Tanner Botts (Lawrenceville, Ga.), junior offensive lineman Joe Ray (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.).

Lenoir-Rhyne, under first-year Head Coach Ian Shields, opens the 2014 season at home against Point at Moretz Stadium on Saturday, September 6, at 7:00 p.m.

2014 AFCA NCAA Division II
Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Northwest Missouri State (31) 15-0
2. Grand Valley State (Mich.) 12-3
3. Minnesota-Duluth 11-2
4. Colorado State-Pueblo 11-1
5. North Alabama 10-3
6. Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) 13-2
7. Minnesota State-Mankato 11-1
8. Henderson State (Ark.) (1) 11-1
9. Pittsburg State (Kan.) 10-2
10. West Chester (Pa.) 13-2
11. West Texas A&M 11-3
12. Shepherd (W.Va.) 11-1
13. Ohio Dominican 10-1
14. Winston-Salem State (N.C.) 10-2
15. St. Cloud State (Minn.) 12-2
16. Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 10-3
17. Tarleton State (Texas) 7-3
18. Indianapolis (Ind.) 10-2
19. Delta State (Miss.) 7-3
20. Indiana (Pa.) 9-2
21. North Carolina-Pembroke 9-2
22t. Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 10-2
22t. Emporia State (Kan.) 9-2
24. Bloomsburg (Pa.) 10-2
25. Tuskegee (Ala.) 8-3

Others Receiving Votes: Saginaw Valley St. (Mich.), 87; Central Missouri, 82; West Alabama, 67; Valdosta St. (Ga.), 59; American International (Mass.), 51; Ferris St. (Mich.), 41; California (Pa.), 38; Missouri Western St., 38; Albany St. (Ga.), 32; Midwestern St. (Texas), 31; Harding (Ark.), 27; Colorado School of Mines, 20; Newberry (S.C.), 20; Concord (W.Va.), 19; East Stroudsburg (Pa.), 19; Slippery Rock (Pa.), 13; Eastern New Mexico, 12; Ouachita Baptist (Ark.), 9; Winona St. (Minn.), 9; Fayetteville St. (N.C.), 7; Sioux Falls (S.D.), 7; Truman St. (Mo.), 5; Findlay (Ohio), 3; Miles (Ala.), 3; Chadron St. (Neb.), 2; Michigan Tech, 2; Washburn (Kan.), 2; West Georgia, 2.

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