Red Raiders Claim Top Spot in College Football American 2021 Yearbook Preseason Poll

July 26, 2021 11:50am

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ORANGE CITY, Iowa — The Northwestern College football team claimed the top spot in the first NAIA preseason poll to be released by College Football America 2021 Yearbook, published by Road Trip Sports.

The Red Raiders are coming off an extremely special 2020 season that was altered by Covid-19. Playing a strict nine-game Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) league schedule in the fall, the Raiders went 8-1. Dropping their first game of the season to top-ranked Morningside, 41-35, Northwestern won the next eight games in a row.

Due to the pandemic, the NAIA playoffs wouldn’t take place until the spring, giving the then red hot Raiders four full months off before the First Round of the NAIA playoffs would commence. Opening up the playoffs with a 31-7 victory over No. 10 Dickinson State, the Raiders were set to square off with another NAIA powerhouse within the State of Iowa borders in No. 2-ranked Grand View. Northwestern left Des Moines with a narrow 27-24 victory which set up the rematch with No. 1 Morningside. This time the Raiders would win when it mattered most squeaking out a 44-41 shootout victory in Sioux City to advance to the national championship game.

The 2021 preseason polls saw two other GPAC institutions crack the top-30, including Morningside, who checked in at No. 2 and Dordt, coming in at No. 15.

The Red Raiders open the 2021 season on the road on August 28 against North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) foe Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D.