Leathernecks Travel to #20 Ranked Jackrabbits
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Monday 10/09/2012
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Western Illinois (3-2 overall, 1-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference) at #20 South Dakota State (4-2, 2-0)

DATE: Saturday, October 13
TIME: 6 p.m.
LOCATION: Brookings, South Dakota
STADIUM: Coughlin Alumni Stadium
SURFACE: Natural Grass
LAST MEETING: SDS 27, @WIU 7 (11/12/11)
LIVE STATS: GoLeathernecks.com

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 - Tom Ackerman (PBP); Adam Seidel (color); Sara Dayley (sideline)


The game can be seen live on ESPN3.


Stats available on iPhone and Android phones with mobile app download. Search WIU Leathernecks app on iTunes and Google Play.

THE GAME: Western Illinois makes a return trip to the state of South Dakota for the second consecutive week, this time to Brookings to face the Jackrabbits of SDSU... The Leathernecks have not won in Brookings since 1980, and will look for their first win over the Jackrabbits since 2007 - prior to SDSU joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference... The last two road losses in Brookings were by a combined six points.

THE RANKINGS: Western received eight votes in the latest Sports Network/Fathead.com 'Top 25' poll... South Dakota State is ranked 20th in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll and received 29 votes (26th place) in the FCS Coaches 'Top 25' poll.

THE COACHES: Mark Hendrickson is in third year as full-time head coach with a 13-16 record, and his 14th year with the Leatherneck Football program (18-26 overall record including parts of 2008/2009 season as acting head coach)... John Stiegelmeier owns a 97-73 record in his 16th year in charge at South Dakota State and overall as a head coach.

ALL-TIME SERIES: This marks the 10th game all-time between the two programs and sixth consecutive year squaring off... Western won an exciting overtime game in the 2007 season-opener at home but since has dropped four straight... The last two losses in Brookings were by a combined six points.


- For the fifth time in the last seven years Western currently owns a winning record against non-conference competition.

- The Leathernecks ended an eight-game road losing streak (six consecutive to FCS teams) with their win at South Dakota last weekend. The last road win was at Coastal Carolina in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs.
- Western's win at South Dakota also ended a streak of three straight defeats when coming off a bye week during the regular season.
- The Leathernecks rank 21st in the country in toughest schedule. Western is one of seven Missouri Valley Football Conference teams among the 'Top 21'.

- Western stands 16th nationally in average attendance (14,011).

- The Leathernecks are tied for first nationally in redzone scoring percentage, going 12-of-12. The 12 scores are second-most among the three teams with a perfect percentage (18-Eastern Washington).

- With eight interceptions this year (134 yds), Western moved into a tie for 15th nationally and one shy of the MVFC lead. The Leathernecks had eight all of last year for only 55 yards.
- Western also ranks in the 'Top 20' nationally in fewest penalty yards (20th), averaging 42 yards per game.
-  Western ranks fifth nationally in fourth down conversion (86 percent, 6-of-7). On the flip side, the defense moved up to a tie for 13th in the nation allowing a 28.6 percent success rate on fourth down (2-of-7).
-  Pat Smith is tied for sixth nationally in field goals made averaging 1.6 per game. He is tied for the national lead with his 8-for-8 (1.000) percentage. He now matched his previous two-year total. The junior kicker is up to 98 career points.
-  The Leathernecks surpassed a 2011 total in the Indianapolis game, scoring on their first drive. Western accomplished the feat five times in 2010, but only once last year. The team scored on the opening drive during the first two games of 2012.
-  Smith's career-long 46-yard field goal versus Indianapolis was the longest made in four years by a Leatherneck kicker... It was his second-longest attempt at Western. He missed from 48 yards last year against Jacksonville.
- Martinez Davis enters this week tied for 34th nationally in interceptions (2/0.20 pg). The sophomore is fourth among the MVFC leaders.
- 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 42nd nationally in tackles per game, five shy of being the top freshman tackler in the country.

- Caulton Ray became the ninth player in Western history to rush for 2,000 career yards (2,005).

- Nikko Watson turned in his fifth career 100-yard rushing game in nine games played.

- Fredson Salomon earned his first-ever Missouri Valley Football Conference weekly award, named 'Newcomer of the Week' on Tuesday.
Kieron James (DB), Nikko Watson (RB), and Fredson Salomon (All-Purpose) were chosen Honorable Mention performer by the College Football Performance Awards.

SCOUTING THE JACKRABBITS: Since starting the year with a 31-17 loss at Kansas, #20 South Dakota State rolled off four straight wins (two in Missouri Valley Football Conference play)... Two weeks ago SDSU handed Missouri State a 17-7 defeat, then is coming off a bye week heading into Saturday... Zach Zenner, the nation's leading rusher, scored on an 88-yard scamper, finishing with 182 yards on 30 attempts... Austin Sumner was able to overcome throwing three interceptions, finishing with 192 yards and a score... Ross Shafrath intercepted two passes to go along with his team-high 12 tackles... T.J. Lally, one of five MVFC members on the Jerry Rice Award watch list, added 10 stops and forced a fumble... Zenner averages 215.4 rushing yards per game to lead the country, and his 224.2 all-purpose ypg is tops nationally... Trevor Tiefenthaler ranks eighth averaging 30.2 yards per kickoff return... Shafrath's 11.4 tackles per game ranks him second in the league and eighth nationally... As a team, SDSU ranks 12th in rushing offense, 13th in rushing defense, third in pass efficiency defense, eighth in total defense, sixth in scoring defense and second in sacks.

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