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On the Sidelines: Western Illinois in search of historic sixth road win

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Western Illinois looks to win its sixth road game of the season at Indiana State for the first time in single season program history. Western Illinois looks to win its sixth road game of the season at Indiana State for the first time in single season program history.

MACOMB, IL. (WGEM) -- As flat as the first half was, the second half was a far different story.

Down 14-0 at halftime at Illinois State last Saturday Western Illinois rallied back for its biggest win to date this season.

The Leathernecks scored 31 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Redbirds.

"We just kind of had to get out of our way, play a little bit better, quit hurting ourselves, and just finish," head coach Charlie Fisher said. "That's exactly what our team did."

According to defensive back Aaron Diggs, "This is my fourth year (at WIU) and we had played them five times and we lost every time. To come out my senior year, and get a big win, I think for a lot of older guys it meant a lot."

The win in Normal gave Western its fifth victory on the road this fall. This weekend marks the Leathernecks' final regular game away from home.

They head to Indiana State (0-9) in search of a sixth road win, which would be a single season program first.

"It's easy to sit here in the summer and say, 'Oh, we can do this (and) we can do that.' But whenever you get thrown in situations you find out what your team is really about," wide receiver Jaelon Acklin said of WIU's success away from home this season.

"I think this team has responded really well to all the challenges and I hope that we can get many more wins on the road, too."

On paper Western is the heavy favorite. The Sycamores have lost 12 straight games dating back to October of last season, and rank last in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in total offense and defense.

But you won't find the Leathernecks assuming the trip to Terre Haute will be a walk in the park.

"The biggest thing in my mind, and our teams mind, is take care of us. Just worry about taking care of business," Fisher said.

"Let's not worry about the opponent. Let's worry about us."

Diggs says they never underestimate any opponent, especially in the MVFC.

"We don't take anybody as an underdog. We know they are a capable team," Diggs said. "They have players on offense and defense, and I think we are ready for them."

With a playoff berth in sight Fisher says it's not time to relax.

"This is round 10 in an 11 round heavyweight fight. We've got to be ready to go," he said.

"We got to come out and throw the first punch, and we got to keep fighting all day long."

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