Former Leathernecks look to shine on the big stage

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

Two Western Illinois University alumni will find themselves on one of the biggest stages they have ever been on come Sunday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. Those two alumni would be former football players here at Western, QB Sean McGuire and WR Jaelon Acklin.

The two former teammates will find themselves competing against each other in the CFL (Canadian Football League) Championship better known as the Grey Cup. In the 107th installment of the game it will be McGuire representing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Acklin for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

McGuire, the 23-year-old out of Franklin, Wis., was the starting QB for three seasons for the Leathernecks before the insertion of Connor Sampson. In his final season, McGuire had a 59.9 percent completion rate, throwing for 2,894 yards and 21 touchdowns. The year before, as a junior, he had an even better 64 percent completion rate, throwing for 2,852 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also rushed for an extra 164 yards and a TD.

In the league, he’s only appeared in two games, being the backup to the Blue Bombers’ current starting QB Zach Collaros as well as Chris Streveler. McGuire had two completions for 17 yards on three attempts.

Across the gridiron will be his former teammate, Acklin. As a rookie in the league, he’s racked up 708 yards and three touchdowns on 58 receptions. In his last game he had 45 yards on three receptions in the 36-16 win over the Edmonton Eskimos.

Because of that performance he was nagged as an offensive x-factor for the Tiger-Cats in one of the latest articles from the CFL’s main page titled “Grey Cup game breakers: 10 names to know before Sunday.”

While McGuire is unlikely to take the field, Acklin is a key playmaker for his side. Either way, it’s always fun when former friends become enemies for a day. The two will surely enjoy catching up and rubbing the win in the other’s face. The game is this Sunday at 6 p.m. Tune in to ESPN if you’re interested watching a former Leatherneck make a name for himself on the big stage.

Twitter: @bradjp08