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Midland University Rated 17th in NAIA Preseason Football Coaches Poll

Midland University Rated 17th in NAIA Preseason Football Coaches Poll

Aug 9th , 2011

The Midland University football team was rated No. 17 in the NAIA 2011 Football Coaches Preseason Poll released today. It is the highest preseason rating in recent memory for the Midland Warriors, who were last rated in a preseason poll in 2004, where they started in the No. 22 spot.

The No. 17 rating is the highest of any Nebraska NAIA team. The Warriors also topped other Nebraska teams in last week’s GPAC Preseason Poll, earning the No. 3 spot.

“It's a testament as to how hard our guys worked last season and the caliber of players who are joining our ranks,” Casey Thiele said, Midland’s head football coach and 2010 AFCA Regional and GPAC Coach of the Year. “Our team is motivated and ready to take full advantage of high expectations for a strong season. We’ve set our sights on a conference title win.” 

The Warriors return 14 starters for 2011, including four players who were first or second team all conference players.

The Warriors finished 2010 ranked 21st in the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll with an 8-3 overall record. After starting the season at 2-2 with losses to eventual NAIA Championship Series participants Sioux Falls and Morningside, the Warriors rattled off six straight conference wins before succumbing in their season finale to Northwestern.

In 2010, the Warriors ranked 11th in NAIA in total defense at 271.9 yards per game. Midland was sixth in NAIA in scoring defense at 15.9 points per game and second in NAIA in pass defense efficiency at 89.3 yards per game. In special teams, the Warriors ranked 15th in NAIA in punt return average at 12.8 yards per return and 14th in NAIA in kickoff return average at 21.1 yards per game.

The Warriors open their season at home in Fremont against the Dakota State University Trojans. Kickoff will be 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. They play top-rated GPAC teams Morningside and Northwestern at home this season on Sept. 24 and Oct. 8, respectively.