BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Urbana University has been picked fifth in the Mountain East Conference football preseason poll after a vote conducted by the league’s coaches.
It’s the highest preseason ranking in league history for the Blue Knights, who received 64 total votes.
UU is coming off a 5-6 campaign that included a disappointing finish following a 4-1 start to the season.
“We’re excited at Urbana. It’s time for us to take the next step,” said fifth-year UU head coach Tyler Haines. “It’s a great conference with a lot of talent and a lot of good coaches. We have to be consistent, play by play and game by game, we’ve got to do it every day.”
With a solid core, including 10 returning starters on defense, the Blue Knights will aim for the program’s first winning season since 2013.
Leading the way are two-time all-conference performers Duray Hall (97 TT, 10.5 TFL, 2 sacks, INT) and Mikal Toliver (49 TT, 9 sacks, 2 FF).
On offense, All-MEC running back Isaiah Young (873 yds, 5 TD) returns along with quarterback Eddie Stockett (789 yds, 6 TD), who missed the final six games last season due to injury.
Notre Dame College has been picked to repeat as Mountain East Conference football champions with 100 points and had 10 first-place votes. The Falcons are coming off a historic season that included an undefeated regular season (11-0) with its first MEC championship and a run to the semifinals in the NCAA playoffs.
Fairmont State was picked to finish second in the poll with 91 points and had the remaining first-place vote.
West Virginia State was third in the preseason poll and the University of Charleston was selected fourth with 74 points.
UU was slotted fifth in the poll with 64 points, followed by West Liberty (52), Glenville State and Concord (37). First-year member Frostburg State, which made the NCAA Division III playoffs in each of the last two seasons, was picked ninth (26 points), with West Virginia Wesleyan (23) and Wheeling (13) rounding out the poll. Wheeling is in its first season of varsity football after playing a club season last year.
The 2019 season begins with three games on Thursday, Sept. 5: Fairmont State at Charleston, West Virginia State at Frostburg State and Alderson Broaddus at Glenville State. The first week of the regular season concludes on Saturday, Sept. 7, with West Liberty at Wheeling, UU at West Virginia Wesleyan and Concord at Notre Dame.