NAU ranked 20 in preseason poll

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The NAU football team is ranked No. 20 in the Sporting News’ preseason poll. The Lumberjacks. who finished second in the Big Sky Conference last year and earned an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs, ended the 2013 season ranked 15th in The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls.

NAU was ranked as high as No. 8 in The Sports Network poll and No. 9 in the FCS Coaches poll during last season. The Lumberjacks finished 2013 regular season undefeated at home.

Coach Jerome Souers’ team snapped a 10-year drought from the FCS postseason, as they earned an at-large bid versus South Dakota State in the first round. The Lumberjacks finished the regular season 9-2 for the first time since 1996.

The Lumberjacks closed out their season with an FCS-best eight defensive touchdowns and had 19 players earn a total of 21 All-Big Sky honors, in addition to eight All-America honors.

SPORTING NEWS 2014 PRESEASON POLL

1. Eastern Washington (12-3, 8-0 Big Sky)

2. North Dakota State   (15-0, 8-0 Missouri Valley)

3. Southeastern Louisiana (11-3, 7-0 Southland)

4. Jacksonville State (11-4, 5-3 OVC)

5. Villanova (6-5, 5-3 CAA)

6. Coastal Carolina (12-3, 4-1 Big South)

7. New Hampshire (10-5, 6-2 CAA)

8. Fordham (12-2, 0-0 Patriot)

9. McNeese State (10-3, 6-1 Southland)

10. Montana (10-3, 6-2 Big Sky)

11. Northern Iowa (7-5, 3-5 Missouri Valley)

12. Richmond (6-6, 4-4 CAA)

13. Tennessee State (10-4, 6-2 OVC)

14. Chattanooga (8-4, 6-2 Southern)

15. Towson (13-3, 6-2 CAA)

16. Sam Houston State (9-5, 4-3 Southland)

17. Liberty

18. Montana State (7-5, 5-3 Big Sky)

19. South Dakota State (9-5, 5-3 Missouri Valley)

20. Northern Arizona (9-3, 7-1 Big Sky)

21. Bethune-Cookman (10-3, 7-1 MEAC)

22. Eastern Illinois (12-2, 8-0 OVC)

23. William & Mary (7-5, 4-4 CAA)

24. Southern Utah

25. Furman (8-6, 6-2 Southern)