MACOMB, Ill. - Sophomore defensive back David McDaniel recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown, but the Leathernecks could not find the endzone otherwise falling 23-7 to 21st-ranked Indiana State on Saturday night (Oct. 20) at Hanson Field. The loss drops Western to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Western's defense held the Sycamores to 250 total yards and the team forced and recovered three fumbles. However, the offense never got in rhythm, held to 144 total yards and only five first downs. Momentum did find its way to Western's side early.
On their first drive, Pat Smith went back to punt but had it blocked by Mark Sewell. The ball bounced right to Smith, who ran for a first down. However, Western's drive stalled on 4th-and-short and Smith's punt was downed on the 1-yard line.
Wil Lunt had his pass intercepted, but the team saved a touchdown on the play when Larry King was hit and fumbled as the offense recovered on its own 1-yard line.
Later, Richie Dyer scored on a 14-yard TD run in the first quarter but Tanner Fritschle missed the extra point. Shakir Bell broke through on a 46-yard run late in the second quarter for a 13-0 lead.
The Sycamores (6-2, 4-1) muffed a punt in the first half but Western could not capitalize. Midway through the third quarter Charles Cheeseborough muffed Smith's punt at the 13, and McDaniel recovered in the endzone for his first career touchdown.
However, momentum went back to Indiana State when Antoine Ford could not handle a punt and Sewall recovered in the endzone early in the fourth for a 20-7 lead. Fritschle hit a 42-yard field goal for the final margin.
"Every loss is very difficult... it's tough on the players and coaches and it's tough on the football team. This was another tough one for us, Indiana State deserved to win. We don't feel well about how we performed," said head coach Mark Hendrickson. "Our defense played well a very high percentage of the snaps. Indiana State wasn't even close the second half other than the one field goal they kicked. Offensively we struggled, our defense had to play many more snaps than we wanted to, they had to play in tough situations and they came through very well considering how the game went. We need to pick up the pace on offense, which we will. We need to improve a great deal and in a hurry."
Caulton Ray led the rushing attack with 72 yards on 16 attempts. Lunt was 4-of-19 for 25 yards with two interceptions and was sacked three times.
The defense gave up 17 or fewer points for the fifth time in six games against a non-FBS opponent, and no more than 23 points to a FCS program all season.
Bell led all rushers with 123 yards on 28 attempts. Mike Perish completed 12-of-18 passes for 99 yards. Aaron Archie and Jacolby Washington finished with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
The Leathernecks travel to Missouri State next Saturday (Oct. 27), kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES: McDaniel's fumble recovery was the first of his career... Western's defense came up with three turnovers gained. They entered the week tied for 33rd nationally... Two of Martinez Davis' five tackles were for a loss, the first two of his career... Dwight Harris and Eddy Holtschlag both recorded a sack... The team's 10 tackles for loss were a season-high... Raffelson recorded double-digit tackles for the third time this year, and has made at least eight tackles in all but one game... Smith matched a career-high with 11 punts, averaging 38.2 yards on his punts. He was the team's second-leading rusher with 36 yards on two attempts.