Spartans Claim Five, First Place Votes in IIAC Football Poll
Aug 25, 2016
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Defending Iowa Conference Champion Dubuque and IIAC runner-up Wartburg share the top spot in the IIAC Football Coaches Preseason Poll with each team collecting 58 points. The Spartans hold the edge in first place votes with five compared to the Knights two.
Dubuque's 58 points come from five first place votes and three third place votes (coaches do not vote for their own team). Wartburg's 58 points are from two first place votes and six second place votes. Central earns the No. 3 spot with two first place votes, three seconds, and three third place votes. Coe sits fourth with 36 points. Loras comes in fifth with 33 points. Simpson is sixth with 32 points. IIAC newcomer Nebraska Wesleyan is seventh with 24 points. Luther projects to finish eighth with 16 points. Buena Vista comes in ninth with 12 points.
|Rank||School (1st place votes)||Points||2015 Record|
|1.||Dubuque (5)||58||8-3, 7-0 IIAC|
|1.||Wartburg (2)||58||9-1, 6-1 IIAC|
|3.||Central (2)||55||6-4, 4-3 IIAC|
|4.||Coe||36||4-6, 3-4 IIAC|
|5.||Loras||33||4-6, 3-4 IIAC|
|6.||Simpson||32||4-6, 3-4 IIAC|
|7.||Nebraska Wesleyan||24||4-6, 3-6 GPAC|
|8.||Luther||16||4-6, 2-5 IIAC|
1-9, 0-7 IIAC
UD will be looking to plenty of underclassmen this season for maintaining the Spartans position as one of the conference leaders in 2016. Expect UD to utilize some veterans with 6-7 seniors in the two-deep line-up, but don't be surprised to see freshmen in the double digits scattered among the two-deep and possibly a few in the starting line-up by season's end. A large incoming class of near 80 freshmen will battle the 72 returners in practice at many spots for head coach Stan Zweifel.
A new locker room with space for 120 student-athletes welcomed the class this season with five air exchangers to keep the space refreshed. The locker room wrapped in Spartan images provides the student-athletes with a dark, cherrywood locker to keep their space safe and organized while at practice and games. A dedication of the locker room will be later this season.
Leading the Spartans will be quarterback Conor Feckley, who takes the reigns under center. He started against Coe last season and captured the victory in his one start. Running back Maurece "Mo Jackson" Herrion returns to pound the ball on the ground like he did last season for 14 touchdowns as a freshman. He gained 827 yards in 171 carries behind the offensive line anchored this season by senior Pat Cusack, a returning First Team All-IIAC performer in 2015.
In the backfield will be a couple of key targets: Juniors Dylan Schultz and Trenton Grana-Curry. Schultz led all receivers in 2015 with 54 catches (584 yards) and tight end Trenton-Curry who grabbed 26 catches (399 yards). Joining the duo will be seniors Jonathan Duarte (28 catches - 354 yards) and Najee Toomer (22 receptions - 320 yards). The quartet accounted for 19 receiving touchdowns in 2015. Returning from a two-year mission trip to Guatemala, sophomore Austin Morgan re-joins the Spartans after leading UD with 73 catches and 735 yards in 2012 as a freshman.
Despite returning just four starters on defense, the Spartans will look to seniors William Hudson and Justin Wilson for leadership as a group of juniors led by First Team All-IIAC performer Michael Joseph anchors the defensive backs. Possibly up to eight freshmen could make the two-deep after pre-season camp.
Lots of new faces for the Spartan fans will include the special teams. Junior Brayden Neuendorf will be the kicker as sophomore Connor O'Malley takes the punts. Junior Kayman Martens will be the holder as junior Cameron Sorenson does the snaps. Returning punts will be freshman Kody Reimer and he will also be the kick returner alongside Toomer.
The Spartans face a tough schedule kicking off the season at home against Bethel University at 1:00 p.m. on Chalmers Field on Sept. 3. UD will travel west to Oregon the following week to face Pacific University which has proven to be a nail biter with history showing the game to be within a handful of points, kick off is slated for 6:00 p.m. PST. UD will begin defend their 2015 title when conference play begins on Sept. 17 as the Spartans play host to Simpson College at 1:00 p.m.
University of Dubuque
Head Coach: Stan Zweifel (2015 Iowa Conference Coach of the Year)
2015 Record: 8-3 overall, 7-0 in the IIAC
Returning Starters (Offense/Defense): 4/4
Returning Letterwinners: 31
Returning All-IIAC: Trenton Grana-Curry (First Team - TE); Pat Cusack (First Team OL); Michael Joseph (First Team - DB); Dylan Schultz (Second Team - WR).
D3football.com Preseason Poll: Wartburg and Dubuque are each receiving votes in the Preseason Top-25. Wartburg was the first team out with 48 points while Dubuque had 13 points.
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Poll comes out in Week 3.
The Schedule: The 2016 regular season begins on September 3 with eight games. Coe, Dubuque, Loras, Luther, and Nebraska Wesleyan all open at home while Buena Vista, Central, and Simpson open on the road. Wartburg opens on September 10 after a Week 1 bye. The eight game Iowa Conference season begins on September 17 and ends November 12. The IIAC champion earns the conferences automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Sept. 3 vs. Bethel Univ. Dubuque, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 10 at Pacific Univ. Forest Grove, Ore. at 6:00 p.m. (PST)
Sept. 17 vs. Simpson College Dubuque, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 24 at Luther College Decorah, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Central College Pella, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 8 vs. Nebraska Wesleyan Univ. Dubuque, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 vs. Coe College (Homecoming) Dubuque, Iowa at 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 22 at Buena Vista Univ. Storm Lake, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 29 vs. Wartburg College Dubuque, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Loras College Dubuque, Iowa at 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 12 Bye – Off Week
Nov. 19 NCAA Division III Championships TBA TBA