Western Illinois Leathernecks Postseason Capsule

Western Illinois Leathernecks Postseason Capsule
Jaelon Acklin

Western Illinois Leathernecks

Missouri Valley Football Conference

Head Coach:  Charlie Fisher

Overall Record:  8-4

Conference Record:  5-3

Biggest Win:  The Leathernecks enjoyed a number of big wins, but perhaps the most thrilling came when quarterback Sean McGuire found receiver Jaelon Acklin for a 20-yard touchdown with six seconds left to lift WIU over Northern Iowa in the UNI-Dome

Most Frustrating Loss: Western scored with just under five minutes remaining to make it a one-possession contest, but the Weber State Wildcats came up with four first downs to secure a 21-19 FCS opening round playoff victory.

Quoatable & Notable:  We've been such a good second half team, and we've come back against so many good teams, but I trust our guys. As I told them at halftime, we have one half of football left and a one-score game. We just need to keep our poise and play better. I thought we played better in the second half, but at the end of the day we were a play or two short. We weren't quite able to get over the hump."

--WIU head coach Charlie Fisher following the 21-19 loss in the FCS playoffs

Returning strengths for 2018:  Though the Leathernecks lose 22 seniors, Western still returns much of its strong defense along with its entire backfield.

Emerging Star:  Safety Justin Fitzpatrick, who moonlights in center field for Western's baseball team, was third on the team in tackles and tops in interceptions.

Giving Thanks:  Western hit a home run with its hiring of Charlie Fisher two years ago.

New Year's Wish List: A new go-to receiver for Sean McGuire and a rebuilt offensive line for the quarterback to have the time to find him.

Biggest Shoes to Fill:  Record-setting receiver Jaelon Acklin and Macomb native Brett Taylor, the MVFC's Defensive Player of the Year and a Buck Buchanan Award finalist.

Tomorrow:  Barry Bottino explores Five Burning Questions that face WIU football for 2018.

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