DATE: Saturday, November 3
TIME: 1 p.m.
STADIUM: Hanson Field
ALL-TIME SERIES: Western trails 27-13
LAST MEETING: @UNI 38, WIU 10 (9/24/11)
LIVE STATS: GoLeathernecks.com
LIVE VIDEO: ESPN3
RADIO (Leatherneck Sports Network)
ANNOUNCERS: Beau Spencer/Mark Bloom
Macomb: WIUS 88.3 FM (Flagship)
Macomb: WJEQ 102.7 FM
Galesburg: WAIK 1590 AM
Quincy: WPWQ 106.7 FM
Clinton, Iowa: KCLN 1390 AM
Monroe City, Missouri: KWBZ 107.5 FM
ANNOUNCERS: Scott Warmann (PBP), Danan Hughes (analyst), Mick Shaffer (sidline)
The game can be seen on ESPN3 or as a pay-per-view on Rocky Vision through GoLeathernecks.com
Stats available on iPhone and Android phones with mobile app download. Search WIU Leathernecks app on iTunes and Google Play.
ALL-TIME SERIES: This marks the 41st meeting all-time between the two programs that will meet for the 35th straight year... It's Western's fourth-longest all-time series behind Illinois State, Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois... The Leathernecks lost three straight in the series, then ended that skid with a win in the 2010 regular season finale that clinched a NCAA playoffs berth, However, Western lost last year's game that was the conference opener.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: UNI may have the 28th toughest schedule in the country, but the Panthers have struggled in 2012 at 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference... This marks their first losing season since 2002... Northern Iowa ranks 25th in passing offense (251.9 ypg), and has the second-best kickoff return average in the country at 26.2 yards, but ranks 115th in sacks (0.75) and tied for 76th in tackles for loss (5.1)... Sawyer Kollmorgen is 32nd nationally in passing efficiency (138.00) and 35th in total offense (242.88)... Tyler Sievertsen is tied for 55th in field goals (0.88). He along with Western kicker Pat Smith are on the Fred Mitchell Award watch list.
- For the fifth time in the last seven years Western currently owns a winning record against non-conference competition.
- The Leathernecks rank 24th in the country in toughest schedule. Western is one of six Missouri Valley Football Conference teams among the 'Top 25'.
- Western stands 20th nationally in average attendance (12,878).
- The Leathernecks stand alone nationally in first place in redzone scoring percentage, going 14-of-14.
- With 13 interceptions this year (182 yds), Western currently stands in a tie for seventh nationally and three shy of the MVFC lead. The Leathernecks had eight all of last year for only 55 yards. That's the most since Western had 13 during the 2008 season totaling 117 yards.
- Western also ranks 21st nationally in fewest penalty yards, averaging 45.8 yards per game.
- Pat Smith is tied for 18th nationally in field goals made averaging 1.3 per game. His 10-for-10 accuracy is second among all kickers at a 1.000 percentage. He now surpassed his previous two-year total. The junior kicker is up to 106 career points.
- Martinez Davis regained a tie for the national lead thanks to his second interception for a touchdown. His five picks this year not only lead the team but tie him for third nationally.
- For the third time this season, Martinez Davis was named Honorable Mention weekly performer by the College Football Performance Awards.
- Redshirt-freshman J.J. Raffelson was one of 16 nationwide chosen to the initial Jerry Rice Award Watch List (National Freshman of the Year), as announced by the Sports Network. He is one of five representatives from the Missouri Valley Football Conference... He's tied for 43rd nationally in tackles per game, and the third-leading freshman tackler in the country.
- When quarterback Hayden Northern entered the game at Missouri State he became the eighth true-freshman to play for the Leathernecks this season.
- Last week Western had 14 true- and redshirt-freshmen play compared to 11 seniors.
20 THE KEY: Whether Western scores 20 points in a game, or allows 20 a game, normally determines the outcome... When Western scores 20 or more it owns a 12-5 record the last three years. In fact, if the Leathernecks put 30+ points on the board they are 7-0... However, if Western is held to under 20 points its record is only 1-14 (only win in 2010 playoffs at Coastal Carolina).
HARRIS, JAMES REACH 30: Senior co-captain Dwight Harris made his 34th consecutive start (36 overall) at Missouri State. He is joined by fellow senior co-captain Kieron James, next with 32 overall... Caulton Ray has 28, close to joining the group... The last Leathernecks to start 30-plus games were five seniors in 2010: Mike Lamphear (37), Matt Barr (37), Kyle Glazier (35), Lito Senatus (33) and Victor Visoky (30).
CAPTAINS, SENIORS HIT WITH INJURIES: Following the Indiana State game, Western lost another fifth-year senior (and third team captain) to an injury. Defensive back Kieron James missed the Missouri State game, but could return this week... Last week he joined offensive lineman Max Dancer (Iowa State/leg) and fellow cornerback Chris Boone (Butler/knee) as captains missing time... Add to that list linebacker Tyler West (Butler/knee) and defensive back Keith Enderlein (Butler/concussion) who suffered a season-ending injury.
Including the five listed above, others listed on 2-deep that have missed games this year due to injury include: DE Ethan Bachinski (starter/4 g), OL Brandon De La Cruz (starter/2 g), LB Theon Dixon (starter/1 g), LS Mike Famiglietti (starter/1+ games), DE Chip Holtschlag (reserve/2+ games), DE Eddy Holtschlag (reserve/1+ games), and TE Alie Walker (starter/2 g).
TRUE LEATHERNECKS: Due in part to injuries, Western has seen eight of the 33 true-freshmen on the roster play this season. Most recently it was quarterback Hayden Northern seeing time. The others include: Jean-Marc Charles, Malik Johnson (started at Iowa State), Mike Love (starter at right guard), Dave Nicholson (start at South Dakota), T.J. Palme, Gavin Ricketts and Kevin Estell... That does not include the 10 redshirt-freshmen that played so far.
SMITH ON FRED MITCHELL AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior Pat Smith joined a list of 44 placekickers nationwide to earn a spot on the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List for the second consecutive year. The award recipient will be chosen based on excellence on the football field and in the community (fredmitchellaward.com), and will be announced in February. The 44 kickers include student-athletes from more than 750 Division I FCS, Division II, Division III, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) institutions... He was noted for his performance on and off the field during October, and earned that same distinction in September... Off the field, Smith has worked as a Relay for Life volunteer, Sammy Fund volunteer in Quincy, Special Olympics volunteer, Rocky's Reach volunteer helping elementary school children during recess and reading, and Jump Rope for Heart volunteer.
SMITH JOINS CENTURY CLUB: Pat Smith improved to 10-for-10 in both field goals and extra points this season... Now 18-of-23 in FG all-time, Smith holds sole possession of seventh place in FGM... His 52 extra points also take sole possession of ninth place all-time... Smith picked up his 106th career point at Missouri State.
Up next FG made: #6 Matt Seman (1990-93) with 20
Up next ExP made: #8 Sam Bass (1968-70) with 70
RAFFELSON ON WATCH LIST: Redshirt-freshman J.J. Raffelson earned a spot on the initial watch list for the Jerry Rice Award, sponsored by The Sports Network. The honor goes to the best overall freshman in the country... He began his collegiate career recording a team-leading nine tackles against Butler... His team-leading 12 stops against Indianapolis were followed by leading the defense again with eight at Iowa State... Twice this season he made 13 tackles (Illinois State and Indiana State)... He also led Western in tackles at South Dakota State (9) and Missouri State (7)... He is the nation's number three freshman tackler and tied for 43rd overall... No freshman in the Leathernecks' NCAA Division I era has led the team in tackles, and only twice since 1981 has a sophomore finished the year as the team leader.