Three weeks ago we played Mo. State. Everyone, including myself, thought the final score would be greater than 22-0. This week we play the loser of the toilet bowl, Western Illinois (Mo. State beat them in 3 OT’s, 37-31 to avoid being in last place in MVFC). The Leathernecks redeemed their season last week by picking up their first victory of 2019 by beating USD, 38-34.
First, don’t let what we did versus Mo. State color your view of how this week will turn out against an on paper, greatly inferior team. Code Green totally shut down the Bears, who never where a threat to upset us. You can’t have nine penalties for 75 yards and not have it affect your offensive output. We followed up the next week against the Jacks with 10 penalties for a 100 yards and it almost cost us the game. Last week, we started playing smart, limited error football (1 penalty for 5 yards) and we blew YSU off the field 56-17. If we play smart and fast this week, it won’t be pretty.
What am I basing that on? No MVFC team is to be compared to a Butler, but by this time in the season, who you are is on film and the stat sheets. If defense wins championships, that boat hasn’t sailed yet for WIU. They are giving up 446.1 YPG (103 in FCS), “stopping” the run at the rate of 191.6 YPG (87th FCS) and are allowing 33.7 PPG (96th FCS). Last week in their win over the Coyotes they gave up 578 total yards and 304 yards rushing. How did they lose? USD committed 14 penalties for 160 yards and was minus 2 in turnovers. On my football scale that goes from sloppy and undisciplined to DUMB football.
Jumping over to the offensive side of the ball, they are producing total yards of 323.4 YPG (104th FCS), rushing totals of 104.8 YPG (107th FCS) and scoring at the hyper sonic rate of 19.4 PPG (105th FCS). They convert 3rd downs 29.8% of the time (118th FCS) and aren’t good in turnovers (111th worst in country at minus 8).
When you are bad at both defense and offense and then add on the bonus of not hanging onto the ball effectively, this isn’t a good recipe for upsetting the Bison on the road. Everyone who dresses for this game should play. This is a team the Bison should smash around.