MACOMB, IL – After traveling to Minneapolis and being held in place by a Minnesota squad that looks to have continued to improve since the 2022 season, the Western Illinois University Leathernecks will finally be at home this Saturday hosting the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (1-1).
This matchup sees the Leathernecks (0-2) playing a foe they haven’t seen since the 2002 season, during which the Leathernecks finished 10-1 and continued to a play into the second round of the I-AA playoffs, where they would face a late upset by the eventual champion Western Kentucky.
Saturday’s game features a ceremony to honor that 2002 Gateway Conference Championship squad with a special pre-game tailgate, recognition during the game, and a postgame championship celebration.
The Leathernecks offense is led by quarterbacks Nick Davenport and Henry Ogala, who have a combined 444 yards and 5 TDs. Naseim Brantley leads WIU in receiving with 221 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brantley is currently tied for the lead for FCS receivers, and his 110.5 receiving yards per game average puts him at #14.
On defense, Anthony Quinney leads the way with 21 tackles after posting 15 in Week 1 vs. UT Martin, then adding six against
Minnesota last week.
Southern Utah currently sits at 1-1 after beating St. Thomas in week 1 and falling to Utah 73-7 last week. Quarterback Justin Miller is 34-56 with 406 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. On the ground, its been rushing by committee with 10 players combining for 117 yards on 32 attempts. The receiving corps is led by receiver Isaiah Wooden who hauled in 5 receptions against St. Thomas for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, but was shutdown by Utah. Safety Josh Dunn leads the SUU defense with 13 total tackles while Rodrick Ward has 12.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3:00 p.m. at Hanson Field on the WIU campus in Macomb.