The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

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Western looks to stay undefeated against NAU

Junior+linebacker%2C+Quentin+Moon+celebrating+Western%E2%80%99s+season+opening+win.+
Junior linebacker, Quentin Moon celebrating Western’s season opening win.

Junior linebacker, Quentin Moon celebrating Western’s season opening win.

File Photo

File Photo

Junior linebacker, Quentin Moon celebrating Western’s season opening win.

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Western Illinois football team is heading back on the road this week as they look to take on Northern Arizona University in the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Arizona tomorrow.

The Leathernecks started off the season strong with an impressive 41-14 win on the road at Tennessee Technical University. The Purple and Gold defense showcased a marked improvement from last year after allowing 34 points per game. They were able to record three sacks in the season opener showing hope for the rest of the season. Team captain and junior linebacker  Quentin Moon put on an outstanding performance against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and earned himself the Missouri Valley Football Conference Player of the Week honors. Moon finished with 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Head coach Charlie Fisher saw good things in the season opener but is looking to improve this week against Northern Arizona.

“In that 41-14 win we were sloppy at times, we didn’t play our best. We got into a nice rhythm and played well in spurts. But we can play so much better,” Fisher said. “We have some things we need to clean up. We have an idea on where we are at right now, we’ve got to keep marching forward and get ready to play a really good Northern Arizona team on the road next week.”

This will be only the third time the Leathernecks and Lumberjacks have competed against one another. The series is currently split at 1-1. Northern Arizona won the first matchup over 50 years ago in 1967 with a dominant 34-0 shutout victory. The Leathernecks got their long-awaited revenge last season with a 34-20 at home. Western is looking to shut down the highly versatile Northern Arizona offense and capitalize on mistakes that the underclassman quarterback may make.

The Lumberjacks put up an astounding 562 yards of total offense that led the Big Sky Conference. Sophomore quarterback Case Cookus threw for 306 yards. However, Cookus showed weaknesses in his first game of the 2017 season. He threw two interceptions in the blowout loss to Arizona University. Northern Arizona is going to look to roll out their multifaceted offense with the impressive running back duo of Cory Young and Joe Logan.

In the last matchup, wide receiver Lance Lenoir played a huge roll against the Lumberjacks setting a career record with 231 receiving yards. Lenoir was not the only one who set career-highs against the shaky Northern Arizona defense. Sean McGuire threw for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns and running-back Steve McShane rushed for 2 touchdowns and 155 yards. These two returning players look to have huge games to win their second straight game on the road and go up 2-1 in their matchup against
Northern Arizona.

This is the first time since 1935 that the Leathernecks have opened the season with three road games. After Saturday’s game against Northern Arizona, Western will be heading on the road again for a  tough matchup against the Coastal Carolina University.

Twitter: @devonseasonofrhye

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Western looks to stay undefeated against NAU