#5 NORTH DAKOTA STATE BISON (9-1
overall, 6-1 MVFC)
at WESTERN ILLINOIS LEATHERNECKS (2-8 overall, 1-6 MVFC)
Saturday, November 19 • 1
All-Time Series: Tied 2-2
Last Meeting: WIU 28, @NDSU 16 (10/2/10)
THE GAME: Western Illinois closes out the 2011 season at home against North Dakota State... The Leathernecks will look to not only end a five-game losing streak, but also a streak in the series with the Bison in which the road team has won every meeting... Western has lost seven of its last eight, and after an eight-game home win streak has now dropped two in a row at home... This marks the fourth straight year Western closes out the regular season at Hanson Field, and third consecutive year against a nationally-ranked opponent... NDSU is coming off a loss, ending its run at a perfect season.
THE COACHES: Mark Hendrickson is in his 13th year with the Leatherneck Football program, second full year as the head coach. He owns a 15-23 record at Western and overall (parts of two years as acting head coach)... Craig Bohl is 70-31 in his ninth year at North Dakota State and overall as a head coach.
LEATHERNECK SPORTS NETWORK
RADIO: Every Western Illinois Football game can be listed to on the Leatherneck Sports Network: WIUS 88.3 FM (Flagship) Macomb and also on WJEQ 102.7 FM in Macomb... Beau Spencer (Play by Play) and Anthony D'Astice (color) will call the action.
TELEVISION: The game will be broadcast on a tape delay basis on WIU-TV3, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Michael Broskowski and Adam Studzinski call the action.
INTERNET: Fans can listen to the game on the internet at: www.GoLeathernecks.com.
COACH HENDRICKSON ON THE AIR
TELEVISION: Every Thursday during the season on WGEM-TV (NBC in Quincy) at 6 p.m. Ben Marth will host 'On the Sidelines'. He recaps the previous week, looks ahead to the Leathernecks' upcoming game, and talk with Coach Mark Hendrickson and players.
RADIO: Coach Mark Hendrickson will appear every Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. locally on 100.1 FM... Thursday from 6:30-7 p.m. on the 'Rocky Report', broadcasted live on WIUS 88.3 FM. The radio show can be heard live on the internet at http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/wiusfm/.
QUARTERBACK CLUB: Every Monday at 12 noon, coach Mark Hendrickson speaks at the Macomb Quarterback Club luncheon. The event is held at Sports Corner @ 124 and the public is invited to attend.
THANK YOU SENIORS: Western Illinois honored the 16 seniors prior to the South Dakota State game. Those finishing their Western career against North Dakota State include: fullbacks Rick Richardson and Josh Gabelmann; linebackers Ryan Carleton, Kevin Palermo and Mike Garoppolo; defensive backs Raynard Pamilton, Ryan Davis and Tim Franken; tight end Aaron Muhammad; offensive linemen Enock Presendieu, Kyle Caldwell and Jordan Valle; defensive linemen Emeka Nwankwo and Brent Turner; and wide receivers Terriun Crump and Myers Hendrickson.
TOUGH SCHEDULE IN 2011: Western Illinois continues to rank among the nation's best in toughest schedule. According to the ncaa.com website, Western currently owns the fifth toughest schedule in the country, and second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (sorted on cumulative opposition in the FCS)... Eight of the Leathernecks' opponents this year are currently .500 or better... Following North Dakota State's recent loss, Western has faced the only remaining undefeated team in the FCS, Sam Houston State.
WATSON MAKES IT CFPA TIMES TWO: Nikko Watson made it two 100-yard rushing games in his three career games as a Leatherneck, totaling a team season-high 170 yards on 29 carries against South Dakota State, and in the process was named Honorable Mention by the College Football Performance Awards for the second time... He also recorded a team season-long 55-yard run in the game... Watson had 140 of his yards by halftime... Watson is averaging 126 yards in his three contests, also surpassing the 100 mark in his debut at Youngstown State (149).
NATIONAL RANKINGS: If Nikko Watson would have met the MVFC and NCAA minimum of 75 percent of games played, he would rank among the nation's best running backs... In three games, Watson is averaging 126 rushing yards per game. That would currently rank him ninth among the NCAA FCS players, and third in the conference.
CRUMP HITS TWO GRAND: Terriun Crump was held below his season average, totaling just 28 receiving yards on five receptions, but those were enough to give him 2,000 yards in his three-year career... The senior stands fourth place all-time with 2,005 yards... He also overtook fifth place with 131 receptions... Crump caught his sixth TD pass of the season and 11th of his career in the game. He moved into a tie for 10th place on the career 'Top 10' touchdown list... Among the season leaders, Crump ranks eighth with 57 receptions and seventh with 882 yards. He leads the Missouri Valley Football Conference in catches (tied 21st nationally) and yards (16th nationally) per game.
DIXON EARNS CFPA AWARD: Transfer Theon Dixon (Ball State) made a memorable start to his Western Illinois career. The junior outside linebacker recorded a team-high nine stops at Sam Houston State, including six solos, and had a 5-yard tackle for loss... He added two TFLs against Jacksonville and again paced the defense making eight stops... He led the team in tackles for the third time this year following a career-high 13 at Illinois State along with his first career interception... Dixon recorded a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss against South Dakota State, eight stops in all. His efforts helped him earn an Honorable Mention award from the College Football Performance Awards.. Averaging 6.9 tackles per game, Dixon is tied for 13th in the Missouri Valley. He also leads the Western defense with 11.5 tackles for a loss, tied for sixth in the league and 69th nationally.
PALERMO VOTED TEAM CAPTAIN: Senior Kevin Palermo matched his career-high for the third time when he recorded 14 tackles against Missouri State. He matched that feat earlier in the month versus Southern Illinois, and last year against Youngstown State. He reached double-digits again at Illinois State with 10 stops then 11 versus South Dakota State to give him 200 in his career... In 43 career games, Palermo has 201 tackles, including 16.0 for a loss (5.5 TFL this year)... Against Southern Illinois, part of Palermo's 14 stops including a key third down stop that ended SIU's drive late in the fourth quarter and set up Western's game-winning score... He's tied for 51st nationally in tackles per game at 9.1 which ranks him sixth in the Missouri Valley.
HOLTSCHLAG NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Jimmy Holtschlag was the lone Leatherneck and one of eight Missouri Valley Football Conference players selected as Capital One Academic All-District, as voted on by members of CoSIDA... Holtschlag, a sophomore guard, owns a 4.0 grade point average majoring in agriculture and exercise science... He will go on the national ballot for Academic All-America... It marks the fourth straight year a Leatherneck football player earned the prestigious academic honor.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Western Illinois looks to end a streak in the all-time series in which the visiting team has won the game... This marks the fifth all-time meeting between the Leathernecks and North Dakota State.
SCOUTING THE BISON: North Dakota State saw its dream of a perfect season end last time out against Youngstown State, but still likely will receive a first-round bye in the FCS playoffs and certainly will with a win on Saturday... The Bison own the second-best scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 14.3 points per game... The 27 points allowed versus Youngstown topped Minnesota's 24 and Missouri State's 21... The offense has scored 20 or more points in all but one game (9-3 win at Southern Illinois)... NDSU ranks 11th in punt returns (13.1) and kickoff returns (23.9), tied for fifth in turnover margin (1.4), 13th in passing efficiency (150.78) and 18th in sacks (2.7).