Western Courier

Necks to send off seniors against Salukis

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Necks to send off seniors against Salukis

Brett Taylor chases down a South Dakota State University running back to stop a touchdown.

Brett Taylor chases down a South Dakota State University running back to stop a touchdown.

Nicholas Ebelhack / editor-in-chief

Brett Taylor chases down a South Dakota State University running back to stop a touchdown.

Nicholas Ebelhack / editor-in-chief

Nicholas Ebelhack / editor-in-chief

Brett Taylor chases down a South Dakota State University running back to stop a touchdown.

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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Coming out of a dominant performance against the Indiana State Sycamores, the Western Illinois University Leatherneck football team will look to cement themselves in the playoffs and close out the season with a strong Senior Day at home against the Southern Illinois University at
Carbondale Salukis.

This is the 63rd meeting between the Leathernecks and the Salukis, Western is ahead in the matchup 35-23-4.

Last season, the Salukis dashed the Purple and Gold’s hopes with a late season loss that capped off the collapse the Leathernecks succumbed to. The seniors this year are looking to avenge the loss and continue their last season in a Leatherneck uniform a little longer. One of the biggest seniors on the Western roster is linebacker Brett Taylor, who has played four seasons for the Purple and Gold and has improved every year he’s stepped on the field. Taylor has continued to leave his mark on the fans and the program and is excited for his final collegiate regular season football game.

“I’m trying not to think about it right now but it will be a lot of emotions,” Taylor said. “But for us 22 seniors, we will be focused on the job and doing what we can to come out with another victory.”

Taylor has been the leader of the Leatherneck defense this season and is the leader of the FCS in total tackles. Taylor and the Purple and Gold defense will have their work cut out for them this week when facing junior quarterback Sam Straub, who is ranked 29th in the FCS for total yardage this season, averaging 256 yards per game. That places him one spot ahead of Leatherneck junior quarterback Sean McGuire.

The Leatherneck offense has been rolling on all cylinders for most of this season with only two games where they’ve scored less than 30 point.

It looks like the perfect storm for McGuire and his guys to put some big points up on the board this Saturday. The Saluki defense has given up at least 28 points five times this season and is ranked 77th in the FCS in total defense this season.

Another big senior who will be recognized is wide receiver Jaelon Acklin. Acklin and McGuire have been a force to be reckoned with all season and the 6-foot-2 wide receiver has proved to the entire country how big he can be. Acklin is third in the FCS in receiving yards this season and tied for ninth in total touchdowns. He can also place himself atop the Leatherneck record book in receiving yards this and topple Leatherneck alumni Lance Lenoir if he can record at least 24 yards against the Salukis.

The end-zone is looking to be a second home for the Purple and Gold this weekend. They are facing a sub-par defense and an offense that is ranked 30th in the FCS. Fans and players will be fired up and full of emotion as they play their last regular season game.

The Leathernecks already have a great chance of making it into the playoffs this season, but a win on Saturday will make them a sure thing.

Twitter: @devondeadlysins

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Necks to send off seniors against Salukis