MACOMB – – The Western Illinois football team made history on Saturday as they made a comeback to be remembered. After trailing South Dakota by as many as 13 points, the Leathernecks still came on top in a wild game that produced 1,070 yards of total offense on 188 total plays. The final score of the game was 38-34 as the Leathernecks earned their first win of the season.
The game required a complete team effort to succeed led by quarterback Connor Sampson. Sampson threw for a career-high 368 passing yards along with 3 touchdowns. He was also acknowledged by the Missouri Valley after his first win as a quarterback, being named the Offensive Player of the week for his efforts. Sampson’s performance put him 14th on WIU’s single-game passing yardage list.
South Dakota had 303 total yards of offense during the first half and entered the 2nd half with a 17-7 lead. The Coyotes made it to Western’s 17 but were denied as the Leathernecks were able to stop them at the goal line and force a field goal. The Coyotes put the Mason Lorber field goal through for a 20-7 lead. The Leathernecks went on quite the run from there, scoring on 5 of their next 6 possessions to gain the lead back from USD at 38-34. Eric Carrera completed the comeback from WIU with his game-sealing interception with 4 seconds on the clock, in a play he and the rest of Leatherneck Nation will remember for a long time to come.
From the beginning of the game, it looked like it could be another blow out for the Leathernecks. But they maintained their spirit still and battled it out to the very end. The Leathernecks now have a meeting with North Dakota State, next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.