ST. LOUIS ( — North Dakota State has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason favorite in a poll of the league’s coaches released Wednesday, Feb. 3. NDSU has been picked first in the preseason poll for nine straight seasons. After winning its lone game in the fall, NDSU has won a league- and FCS-record 38 straight games.

North Dakota State has earned the league championship nine straight years including five outright titles. This year, NDSU received 101 points in the coaches vote to edge Northern Iowa (92) and South Dakota State (91). Illinois State and Southern Illinois round out the top five in the poll with 80 points and 68 points, respectively.

In addition to the preseason team rankings, the conference announced its preseason team voted on by coaches, sports information directors and a media panel. NDSU has a league-best eight first-team picks including fullback Hunter Luepke, wide receiver Christian Watson, offensive lineman Cordell Volson, long snapper Ross Kennelly, defensive lineman Spencer Waege, linebacker Jackson Hankey, cornerback Josh Hayes and safety Michael Tutsie. Tight end Josh Babicz earned honorable mention.

2020-21 Valley Football Spring Preseason Poll

1. North Dakota State 101
2. Northern Iowa 92
3. South Dakota State 91
4. Illinois State 80
5. Southern Illinois 68
6. South Dakota 52
7. North Dakota 39
8. Youngstown State 36
T9. Missouri State 23
T9. Western Illinois 23

Indiana State opted out of spring season