ST. LOUIS – Indiana State football has been picked to finish 10th in the Missouri Valley Football Conference 2021 Preseason Poll, the League office announced prior to Tuesday’s Virtual Media Day. Four Sycamores were named Honorable Mention All-MVFC, including Isaiah Edwards (OL), Dante Hendrix (WR), Inoke Moala (DL) and Michael Thomas (DB). The League’s preseason poll and honors are voted on by head coaches, sports information personnel and members of the media.
South Dakota State earned 24 first-place votes and was voted as the MVFC favorite following their National Championship runner-up finish last spring. North Dakota State picked up 18 first-place votes was picked to finish second ahead of North Dakota, Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa.
Isaiah Edwards – Synopsis
2019 – Medical Redshirt … Made three starts on the offensive line before an injury cut his season short. 2018 – Earned Honorable Mention All-MVFC … Named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team … Started every game in 2018 at left guard … Helped the Sycamores to 241.5 rushing yards per game to rank 14th in the country … ISU finished with 2,656 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns this season after a 2017 season when ISU ran the ball for just 1,185 yards and seven rushing scores … Key in the passing game as the Sycamores threw for 2,559 yards and 18 touchdowns … The Sycamores finished the regular season seventh nationally, converting 42-of-46 (91.3 percent) chances in the red zone … Four different Sycamores (Keys, McCoy, Boyle, Kerlegrand) rushed for 100 or more yards this season.
Dante Hendrix – Synopsis
2019 – Earned MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award as well as MVFC Academic Honor Roll accolades … Earned MVFC Second Team All-Academic honors … Named First Team All-MVFC at wide receiver … Started all 12 games for the Sycamores … Led the team and ranked third in the MVFC with 653 receiving yards … Ranks fifth in the League with 51 receptions … Recorded 50 or more yards through the air in five games … Recorded a season high 135 yards at No. 5 Northern Iowa … Had a career long 70-yard reception int he finale at Missouri State … Caught touchdowns against Dayton and Illinois State … Had a season long 70-yard punt return touchdown at Missouri State (11/23).
Inoke Moala – Synopsis
2019 – Earned MVFC Academic Honor Roll accolades … Played in all 12 games while starting 11 on the defensive line … Finished the year with 31 tackles including 14 solo stops … Accounted for 12.5 tackles-for-loss for 44 yards which ranked second on the team … Recorded 3.5 sacks for 22 yards … Credited with six pass breakups and four quarterback hurries … Forced two fumbles while recovering a two fumbles … Recovered two fumbles, including one in the endzone to score a touchdown in the season opener against Kansas (8/31) …Had a season high eight tackles in a win over Eastern Kentucky (9/14) … Credited with 3.5 tackles-for-loss against Western Illinois (10/12).
Michael Thomas – Synopsis
2019 – Earned MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award as well as MVFC Academic Honor Roll accolades … Started all 12 games … Made the transition from wide receiver to safety … Was third on the team with 73 tackles, including 39 solo stops … Recorded eight or more tackles in five games … Ranked 11th in tackles during Missouri Valley Football Conference play with 58 stops … Forced three fumbles on the year with back-to-back forced fumbles against Illinois State and South Dakota State … Had two interceptions with the first coming against Western Illinois and the second against Youngstown State … Recorded 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack.
2021 Preseason Poll
Team (First-Place) … Points
1. South Dakota State (24) … 454
2. North Dakota State (18) … 435
3. North Dakota … 357
4. Southern Illinois … 345
5. UNI (1) … 311
6. Missouri State … 256
7. Illinois State … 196
8. South Dakota … 163
9. Youngstown State … 126
10. Indiana State … 112
11. Western Illinois … 83