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VMI football attains its first national ranking as FCS member

Keydets are 3-0 for the first time since 1981

VMI ranked for the first time as an FCS competitor (WSLS)

LEXINGTON, Va. – The Keydets are nationally ranked for the first time since joining the FCS college football classification, checking in at No. 19 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 poll released Monday afternoon.

This comes on the heels of a Saturday home win over Mercer, 41-14, a team VMI had never beat at home.

The win also propelled the program to its first 3-0 start since 1981. VMI is just one of two Southern Conference (SoCon) teams that remain unbeaten-- Chattanooga is 2-0.

“The VMI football team is honored that our efforts have been seen as worthy of inclusion in the FCS Top 25 poll,” said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. “Every week our young men get to play the game they love safely. It’s a win before they even step on the field. So I can’t be prouder of the sacrifices my coaching staff and players have made to give themselves the opportunity to compete.”

Regarding the team’s 3-0 start, quarterback Reece Udinski said, “We all knew it was coming, I think we were the only ones in the Country to believe it though.

“That’s all we needed and we only needed ourselves and we show up every day, go to work and we believe in ourselves, our coaches believe in us, we believe in our coaches and we knew this was going to happen, we knew the hard work was going to pay off and we’re glad it finally is.”

The Keydets started receiving votes in the poll following their 14-13 season opener upset of #10 Furman in Lexington on February 27. It was the first Keydet victory over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2002.

VMI received the most votes of any team not ranked in last week’s poll following its road 30-7 win at Western Carolina on March 6.

VMI finished the 1957 season ranked 20th in the Associated Press poll after going 9-0-1 under legendary coach John McKenna. The Keydets attained a ranking as high as 13th during that season.

In 1982, VMI was reclassified into the Division I-AA ranks which later became the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Prior to this week, the team had never attained a national ranking as an FCS member but did receive votes in 1991, 2002, and 2019.

James Madison remains the top team in FCS, with the Richmond Spiders checking in at 23.

For a complete look at the FCS rankings, click here.

About the Authors:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.