CARBONDALE — Western Illinois moved up into the top 10 in both major top 25 FCS polls Monday after shutting out Indiana State 45-0 last weekend.
The Leathernecks (7-3, 4-3 Missouri Valley Football Conference) hosts SIU (4-6, 2-5) Saturday at 1 p.m. in Macomb. Western Illinois outgained the winless Sycamores (0-10, 0-7) 409-133 and got four touchdown passes from quarterback Sean McGuire.
Western Illinois was one of six Valley teams in the STATS top 25 poll and one of five in the FCS coaches list. North Dakota State (fourth) and South Dakota State (sixth) joined the ninth-ranked Leathernecks in the top 10 of the STATS poll. South Dakota was 15th, Illinois State was 21st and Northern Iowa was 24th.
Youngstown State (5-5, 3-4), which beat the Salukis 28-20 Saturday in Carbondale, received votes in the STATS poll.
In the coaches poll, South Dakota State was fifth, followed by North Dakota State at No. 6 and Western Illinois at No. 10. South Dakota was 16th and Illinois State was 25th. Northern Iowa received 60 votes, putting the Panthers just outside the top 25 at No. 26.
North Dakota State wrapped up at least a share of the MVFC regular-season title with its 49-14 win over South Dakota in Fargo. The Bison will win the outright title with a win at Illinois State this weekend. South Dakota State (at South Dakota) and Northern Iowa (hosts Indiana State) must win this weekend to have a shot at tying for the regular-season title.
— Todd Hefferman