The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) released August 3 the 2016 Preseason Football Coaches Poll. Minnesota State Mankato was picked to win the league, while Northern State University landed sixth with 143 points and one first place vote.
The NSIC football schedule will be broken into two divisions (north/south). Each team will play 11 conference games that will count towards the NSIC Overall Championship as well as seven divisional games that will count towards the NSIC North/South Division Championships.
In all, three league champions will be awarded (Overall Champion, North Division Champion, and South Division Champion). Ties will not be broken for overall or division champions.
The Wolves also garnered 35 points and one first place vote in the North Division, picked to finish third overall behind Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State. Senior defensive lineman, Chad Stoterau was tabbed as one of the NSU players to watch and the NSIC North Division Preseason Player of the Year.
Stoterau was a 2015 All-NSIC First Team selection, starting all 11 games for the Wolves.
Stoterau, a Garretson, SD, native tallied 51 tackles a season ago and anchored the NSU defense, which led the NSIC in red zone defense.
On the offensive side, fellow senior Conner Doherty was picked as the team’s second player to watch. Doherty was second on the team in 2015 with 514 yards receiving, tallying 41 catches and three touchdowns, while averaging 12.5 yards per catch and 46.7 yards per game.
Northern State opens the 2016 season after a co-NSIC North Division crown in 2015. NSU went 6-5 overall and 6-1 in North Division play after defeating No. 18 Minnesota Duluth, 23-15, in late October.
The win snapped a previous 26-game loss streak to the Bulldogs. The Wolves return a multitude of talent in All-Conference performers Doherty, Tyler Robel, Channing Barber, Stoterau, Taylor Zemlicka, Joe Parsley, and Nick Murphy; as well as Don Hansen All-Americans Doherty and Barber.
Barber led the team in 2015 with five interceptions and 74 return yards. He was third on the team with 65 total tackles and added 2.5 tackles for a loss, 18 pass break-ups and 23 pass deflections. NSU was second in the league in fourth down conversions and led the NSIC in red zone defense.
Northern State opens the 2016 season on the road versus Augustana and will return home to face Southwest Minnesota State in the 2nd Annual Ag Bowl on September 10. The match-up with the Mustangs will be featured on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN App.
NSU Sports Information