Football records their first road win


Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Eric Carrera running to the play at an away game against the Illinois State University Redbirds.

David Koier, Courier Staff

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Western Illinois Leatherneck football team scored their first road win of the season this weekend, as the Purple and Gold toppled the Missouri State University Bears 31-14. They move onto 3-4 on the season, and are 2-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Coach Jarod Elliott was very proud of how his team performed in the conference matchup.

“I really felt like for the first time this year, we played a complete team game,” Elliott said. “We were able to be aggressive in some certain situations for the win.”

Missouri State opened up the game with the ball, but after five plays, highlighted by a sack by Leatherneck senior linebacker Pete Swenson, led to the Bears punting the ball.

The Purple and Gold took advantage of their first possession as the offense, led by senior quarterback Sean McGuire, drove 95 yards for the first score of the game. A 13-yard pass from McGuire to redshirt junior John Brunner and an extra point by kicker Sam Crosa, gave the Leathernecks a 7-0 lead early on.

With just over three minutes left in the first quarter, the Bears were looking to get their own points on the board. A second down pass from Missouri State quarterback Peyton Huslig to freshman tight end Jordan Murray put the Bears on the board with 31 seconds left. An extra point by kicker Parker Lacina tied the game up at seven apiece.

A two-yard run by Leatherneck redshirt sophomore Clint Ratkovich wound the clock out and the first quarter of play ended with both teams tied at seven.

The Bears eventually got the ball back, after a failed fourth down attempt by Western’s offense. The Bears marched to Western’s five-yard line where a score by Missouri State looked imminent. Huslig lobbed up a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Eric Carrera in the end zone for a touchback.

Western drove down to the Missouri State 12-yard line after a couple rushes by running backs Steve McShane and Max Norris, and a McGuire pass to Ratkovich. McGuire’s next pass was picked off by MSU linebacker McNeece Egbim, which would be the first interception thrown on the day.

A three and out by the Bears led to great field position for the Leathernecks offense at the Bears 40-yard line. Unfortunately, the Purple and Gold couldn’t get anything going for them and were forced to try a 51-yard field goal. Crosa’s kick missed wide right and the game stayed tied at seven.

An interception by Western defensive back Justin Fitzpatrick solidified that the Bears would not score again in the first half. Western drove to MSU’s 14-yard line, which set up a field goal for the Leathernecks which Crosa nailed sending the game to halftime 10-3 in favor of Western.

The next score of the game wouldn’t come until five minutes left in the third quarter when McGuire threw a 52-yard bomb to Ratkovich for a touchdown. After the extra point by Crosa, Western took a 17-7 lead, which would only increase throughout the rest of the game.

McShane would have both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter widening the lead to 31-14, and solidifying the first road win for the football team this season.

McGuire ended the day with 305 passing yards on 19 completions off of 32 attempts as well as three touchdown passes. McShane had a day rushing for 150 yards on 19 attempts and one touchdown.

He also had four receptions on the day for 95 yards anda touchdown.

The Leathernecks will be at home this upcoming Saturday for another conference matchup against the University of Northern Iowa. The Panthers are 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MVFC. Kickoff at Hanson Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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