Football looks to keep playoff hopes alive

Isaiah LeSure cathces a touchdwon pass against Northern Iowa.

Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Isaiah LeSure cathces a touchdwon pass against Northern Iowa.

David Koier, Courier Staff

VERMILLION S.D. — It’s November and the college football season is coming to an end. The 5-4 Western Illinois University Leathernecks have fought this entire season with one goal in mind; make the FCS playoffs at the end of the season. Some early season losses have led Western down a tough path to the playoffs, but the Leathernecks haven’t given up hope yet.

Western brings a three-game win streak with them as they head to Vermillion to face off against the University of South Dakota Coyotes. The Coyotes have had their own struggles this season, only posting a 3-6 record.

Western has been on a hot streak since there win on Oct. 20, over the Missouri State Bears. After scoring their first road win of the season over the Bears, the Leathernecks traveled back home to upset a tough Northern Iowa football team.

This win over the Panthers was a must-win to keep the playoff hopes of the Leathernecks alive, and they proved with there 37-17 that they wouldn’t end this season without a fight.

Last week, Western beat Southern Illinois with a last second Sam Crosa field goal to again keep their playoff hopes alive once again.

Now, with their last road game of the season looming, Western must once again dig deep and give it all they have to fight against a solid Coyote team.

This week’s matchup puts the No. 1 passing offense in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Coyotes against Western Illinois’ No. 1 passing defense. On the year, Western has only allowed 1750 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns. Their 10 interceptions make it difficult for teams to not drive down the field with an air attack.

On the other side, the Coyotes complete 60.4 percent of their passes while only tossing six interceptions on the season. With 15 passing touchdowns and 2629 yards on the year, it looks like there will be a dog fight between these two teams.

Finishing out his senior year strong is three-time captain quarterback Sean McGuire. McGuire has completed 59.88 percent of his passes this season, tossing 2,441 yards and 21 touchdowns in the process. This season McGuire made Western Illinois history, as he broke the career passing yards and passing touchdown records.

Accompanying McGuire as an offensive leader is senior wide receiver Isaiah LeSure. LeSure has a team high of 40 receptions on the year, while bringing in 582 yards. LeSure has been a strong offensive weapon for the Purple and Gold, as he averages 72.75 yards per game while also pulling in four touchdowns on the year.

Even if they do win, it is still a difficult path to the playoffs for the Leathernecks. The seniors on this team will be giving everything they have in these last two games to elongate their time with the program. The kickoff is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

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