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Jackrabbits picked second, USD picked sixth in preseason Missouri Valley football poll

Both teams open on the road at Power Five conference foes; SDSU at Iowa and USD at Kansas State

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South Dakota State's Adam Bock (32) spins down Northern Iowa running back Dom Williams (7) during a Missouri Valley Football Conference game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 at Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. (Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic)
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — North Dakota State is the preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, with South Dakota State second in the preseason poll, the conference announced on Tuesday.

The defending national champions, NDSU received 39 of a possible 41 first-place votes and 446 total points to edge South Dakota State, which earned 407 points and the remaining two first-place tallies after a 10-4 season and a trip to the national semifinals for the fourth time in five years. Missouri State was picked third in this year’s preseason poll with 355 total points, while Southern Illinois (4th, 306 points) and UNI (5th, 304 points) were tightly bunched for the next two spots.

A returning playoff participant from last season, South Dakota was picked sixth with 235 points. North Dakota (190), Illinois State (178), Youngstown State (132), Indiana State (109) and Western Illinois (44) round out the voting.

Nine Jackrabbit players were honored on the MVFC Preseason Team. Eight of the selections were first-team picks, including five on the offensive side of the ball, including offensive linemen Garret Greenfield and Mason McCormick, wide receiver Jaxon Janke and tight end Tucker Kraft and running back Isaiah Davis. Linebacker Adam Bock, defensive tackle Caleb Sanders and defensive end Reece Winkelman were first-team picks, with the lone second-team selection being quarterback Mark Gronowski, who is expected to start at quarterback after missing the 2021 fall season due to a knee injury from the FCS national championship game in May 2021.

For USD, five Coyotes landed on the preseason all-MVFC team. First-teamers included Alex Jensen, Brock Mogensen, Dalton Godfrey, and Carter Bell (Bell also made second team as a receiver), with Nick Gaes receiving second-team honors. Jensen plays left tackle, while Mogensen is the team’s leading returning tackler at linebacker, plus long snapper Godfrey, all-purpose back Bell and defensive lineman Gaes.

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South Dakota State opens practice Friday. The Jackrabbits kick off the 2022 season Sept. 3 at Iowa. USD is on the practice field starting on Thursday and opens the season at Kansas State on Sept. 3.

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