The Western Illinois football team remains in town this weekend, opening Missouri Valley Football Conference play on Saturday afternoon taking on Northern Iowa at 3 p.m.. It is Youth
Sports Day, meaning all children 12 and under receive free admission if they wear their team uniform to the contest. Fans are also encouraged to wear white.
Who | Northern Iowa (0-3, 0-1) at Western Illinois (0-3, 0-0)
When | Saturday, Sept. 24, 3 p.m.
Where | Hanson Field, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois
Social media | Twitter + Facebook
Previous matchups: Western Illinois comes into Saturday’s game with a record of 16-34 all-time against Northern Iowa. The Panthers have won the last three games against the Leathernecks. Western Illinois’ last win in the series came on October 27, 2018, a 37-17 victory on Hanson Field.
Last time out: Western Illinois suffered a 17-10 defeat to Southern Utah last Saturday in Macomb. In that game, Clay Bruno’s seven-yard touchdown run with :54 tied the contest at 10-10 but the Thunderbirds were able to score a game-winning touchdown with :31 to win.
Seeing his first action as quarterback of the Leathernecks, Bruno had a team-high 84 yards rushing as well as throwing for 220 yards on 19-31 passing. Nasseim Brantley once again was the favorite target of the WIU quarterback hauling in eight passes for 116 yards. It was the second time this season Brantley went over 100 yards receiving in a game.
Defensively, Juan DelaCruz led the Leathernecks, registering 10 tackles, seven of the solo variety. DelaCruz also added a tackle for loss. Chase Graham also had another big game for Western Illinois, finishing with nine tackles and a team-high eight solos. J.J. Ross added his second interception of the season.
On special teams, Mason Laramie added his second field goal of the season, making a kick from 21 yards.
Scouting the opponent: Northern Iowa comes in at 0-3 overall, 0-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Panthers start the year 0-3 for the first time since 1969. Quarterback Theo Day is second in the MVFC, averaging 296.7 yards passing per game. Deion McShane is his favorite target with 15 receptions (fourth in the MVFC) for 302 yards (third in the MVFC). Korby Sander leads the defense and is second in the conference with 28 tackles.
What to watch: Expect the ball to be in the air, UNI is second in the league in passing yards per game (296.7) while Western Illinois is fourth (225.3). Western Illinois is second in attempts (107) while Northern Iowa is fifth (95).