Western Courier

Football sacked by South Dakota

Chris Bean, Courier Staff

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VERMILLION, S.D. — The Western Illinois University football team traveled north to take on the University of South Dakota. They fell to the Coyotes 17-12 and now move onto 5-5 on the season. USD moves onto 4-6 on the season.

“We just didn’t play very well today, to sum it all up. It starts with me, I’ve got to do a better job. Our guys just didn’t execute like we should have, and that really starts with me. We could have done a better job on offense, and we left a lot out there and we left a lot of really good field position out there,” head coach Jared Elliott said. “There’s a lot to clean up, but I told the guys in the locker room, ‘We’ve had some great wins together and this is a tough loss that we have together.’ We’re going to win and lose together, and we’re going to stay together and not point fingers. We’re going to move on and correct the things we need to correct and go find a way to beat Indiana State next week.”

It was a good start for Western after they forced a three-and-out on defense, and a 10 play 40-yard drive that ended in a 52-yard field goal from junior kicker Nathan Erickson, giving them a lead of 3-0 early in the first quarter. After that drive on offense, the Leathernecks were abysmal. They had punted in four of their last five drives to end the half. They did have a nice 12 play 76-yard drive, but left points off the board when last week’s hero, junior kicker Sam Crosa missed a 39-yard field goal. On the other side of the ball the defense gave up a touchdown following the field goal, but that was it for the Coyotes on offense. The Coyotes tried to add onto their lead late in the second quarter, but the leader of the defense, senior linebacker Quentin Moon forced a fumble with 48 seconds to go in the half. The Coyotes led the game at half, with 7-3.

The Leathernecks got the ball to begin the second half, and it didn’t go very well. They lost 10 yards and were forced to a three-and-out at their 8-yard line. They have USD great field possession at the Western 37. The Western defense held them to only a field goal, increasing the Coyote lead to 10-3. The struggling Necks offense came back on the field needing to get something going. They got a big play when senior quarterback Sean McGuire found junior wide receiver John Brunner for 45-yards, setting up the Leathernecks at the USD 23-yard line. After four plays Western found themselves at a first and goal, but McGuire made an uncharacteristic mistake throwing his only interception on the day. After three punts in a row, Western answered back with a 44-yard field goal from Crosa. The Coyotes quickly answered with thanks to Kai Henry running for 42 yards on five carries, capped off with a 4-yard touchdown run, giving USD its biggest lead of the game, 17-6. Another punt by the Leathernecks offense, USD got the ball back with less than six minutes to go in the game. Down two scores, Western needed a big play. The defense forced a three-and-out, forcing the Coyotes to punt. On the punt, junior defensive lineman Joe Turk found a crease and blocked the punt, and junior defensive back Daymon Murray picked it up and took it to the house for the only Neck touchdown in the game. The score stayed 17-12 after the missed two-point conversion. With only 5:12 left in the game, Western had no timeouts left. USD got two big first downs. Western was able to get the ball back, but with only 18 seconds left, they needed a miracle. There was no miracle for the Leathernecks today, as they fell to the Coyotes 17-12.

After this loss, Western Illinois falls to fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference standings. They host Indiana State University next who is 6-4 on the season and ranked third in the conference. The Leathernecks need to win to give them any chance to continue the season. It will be senior day, and what better way to ruin Indiana State’s season, and maybe give them playoff hopes.

Twitter: cre_bean

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Football sacked by South Dakota