After triumphing Saturday against winless Indiana State, Western Illinois cracked the Top 10 of one national FCS poll.
WIU, 45-0 victors over the Sycamores, advanced two places and landed at No. 9 in the STATS FCS Poll, which was released Monday. The Leathernecks moved up five places to 13th in the Coaches FCS Poll.
"Your biggest worry in a game like this is, obviously we had just played three heavyweights," WIU head coach Charlie Fisher said. "We were coming in playing a team that was 0-9, but a team that was hungry and always a threat. We had to take care of business."
Illinois State, in the meantime, took South Dakota State to overtime before falling 27-24 in Brookings to the Jackrabbits. Interestingly, the Redbirds dropped five places to No. 25 in the coaches poll while SDSU moved up three spots to No. 5. ISU is No. 21 (down four spots) in the STATS rankings.
News and notes
Western's shutout of Indiana State was the program's first since 2010 . . . With four passing touchdowns, Sean McGuire moved into third place all-time in school history with 48 throwing scores. He is five away from tying Trenton Norvell for second . . . Jaelon Acklin finished with five receptions for 66 yards, bringing him 25 yards away from breaking Lance Lenoir's single-season receiving record. Acklin's bid for the record was put on hold when he was ejected early in the third quarter for fighting . . . senior Jarid Brown registered two receptions for 49 yards. He had two catches for 15 yards in his entire WIU career entering Saturday . . . Western outgained Indiana State 409-133, and the Leathernecks possessed the ball to a 35:49-24:11 advantage . . . Western held Indiana State to just 1-for-12 on third down . . . Aaron Diggs picked off his second pass of the season in the win.
Redshirt freshman Devin Taylor collected his first career interception Saturday. His father, Donavan, played football at Michigan State and his grandfather, Larry Williams, played football at Indiana State; his cousin, Roland James, played collegiate football at Tennessee and later played in the NFL for the New England Patriots . . . sophomore James Robinson scored his 10th touchdown of the season for the Redbirds . . . redshirt freshman Christian Uphoff's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the sixth in school history and the first 100-yard return since Josh Burch in 2013 . . . senior Adam Conley recorded his first career interception on a ball that he also tipped.
Matt DeSomer (7) became the first player in SIU history to lead the team in rushing, passing and receiving in the same game. (photo courtesy of TheSouthern.com)
Junior Matt DeSomer, a backup safety this year until starting quarterback Sam Straub went down with a season-ending injury, played the vast majority of Saturday's game at quarterback. DeSomer was Southern's leading passer, rusher and receiver in the game. He ran in a 58-yard scamper for a touchdown. Two 20+ yard runs set up scores, and he caught a 34-yard pass that set up another score. He finished with 140 yards rushing -- the fourth-most for a quarterback in SIU history and the most for any SIU player since 2015 . . . Anthony Knighton, a recent addition to the Jerry Rice Award (given to the top freshman in the FCS), picked up 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack to his season totals . . . sophomore Jeremy Chinn forced two fumbles Saturday, doubling his season total to four. In addition, Chinn has three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
After having this past weekend off with a bye, Eastern Illinois closes its season with an Ohio Valley Conference game at Austin Peay . . . the Panthers have used three quarterbacks this season--senior Mitch Kimble, who has been out since an early injury; redshirt junior Bud Martin; and redshirt freshman Scott Gilkey, Jr. With Gilkey expected to start Saturday and Martin's 770 team-leading passing yards seemingly on hold, this season will mark the first time since 1977 that Eastern has not had a quarterback break the 1,000-yard mark for the year . . . Isaiah Johnson leads EIU in rushing with 576 yards. The junior grew up in Clarksville, Tenn., the home of Austin Peay University where the Panthers will play Saturday. In fact, Johnson's mother works at APSU. Moreover, Johnson played at Rossview High School, where he was the school leader in career rushing yards and touchdowns with 4,040 yards and 43 career touchdowns.
North Dakota State at Illinois State, noon
Southern Illinois at Western Illinois, 1 p.m.
Eastern Illinois at Austin Peay, 4 p.m.