Coach Dean Hood and the Murray State Racers are ranked No. 22 in the HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top-25. The Racers open their season Sept. 2 at home against Mississippi Valley State.

MURRAY — The momentum from the spring football season is gaining as the Murray State Racers hit the month of July ranked No. 22 in the nation in the 2021 HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top-25.

The Racers, who finished No. 13 in the final rankings in the spring for their first year to crack the top-25 since 2011, open the 2021 season at Roy Stewart Stadium (Sept. 2) against Mississippi Valley State as the program enters its 97th season.

The Racers ended the spring season (postponed from the fall of 2020) with a 5-2 mark and took it all the way to the final game, where they fell to Jacksonville State for the Ohio Valley Conference championship. With a second-place finish, the Racers and head coach Dean Hood marked an amazing turnaround in his first season with the Racers.

It was the first time MSU had won five OVC games in a decade and the first time since 1995 in which the team started the season 5-0.

Sam Houston State was first in the preseason poll with James Madison, South Dakota State, North Dakota State and Southern Illinois rounding out the top-5.

HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top 25

1. Sam Houston

2. James Madison

3. South Dakota State

4. North Dakota State

5. Southern Illinois

6. Delaware

T7. Montana State

T7. Weber State

9. Montana

10. North Dakota

11. Central Arkansas

12. Monmouth

T13. Southeastern Louisiana

T13. VMI

15. Jacksonville State

16. Eastern Washington

17. Villanova

18. Austin Peay

19. North Carolina A&T

20. Chattanooga

21. Alcorn State

22. Murray State

T23. East Tennessee State

T23. Sacramento State

25. Missouri State

Also receiving votes (alphabetical order): Alabama A&M, Florida A&M, Kennesaw State, Nicholls, Rhode Island.

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