On the Sidelines: Leathernecks eye South Dakota sweep - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

On the Sidelines: Leathernecks eye South Dakota sweep


MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- With one losing streak over and done with Western Illinois has another string of futility to tackle, putting an end to a four game skid against South Dakota State and winning at a place they haven't won at in 32 years.

"We're probably going to have play one of our best games of the year to get that win," Western's leading rusher Nikko Watson said. 

"I know what we're capable of. Our defense is coming along pretty good, as long as our offense is clicking like last week, and if it's clicking way more this week, we should get this win."

Head coach Mark Hendrickson knows the tough road that awaits his team. 

"We'll have to play our best game to date," Hendrickson said. 

"Then again, that's exciting because that's always the goal. Let's play this Saturday better than we ever have and we'll have to do that to win this ball game." 

A switch at signal caller has seemed to rejuvenate a once stale Western offense.

Wil Lunt threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday. His ability to lead the Leathernecks to a win came as no surprise to his coaches and teammates.

"We felt like we needed to make that change at the quarterback position and we did," Hendrickson noted. 

"When you make that change you still need that individual player to come through. Wil came through with flying colors."

According to Watson, "He's always been a leader, on and off the field. We always knew that he could produce and he always knew it. Once he got his time to shine he took it and ran with it."

The defense continues to carry the load.

But the unit will face a daunting task this weekend when they try and tackle Zach Zenner who leads the nation in rushing and averages 215 yards a game.

"We definitely have a different scheme every week for every team," freshman defensive end Eddy Holtschlag said. 

"Hopefully we can stop (Zenner) and take him out, not injury-wise, but stop him as a defensive unit. 

Western and South Dakota State square off under the lights in Brookings, South Dakota at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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