Archive for February 2021

Moving the Chains with . . . Western Illinois running back/return specialist Justin Hall

Moving the Chains with . . . Western Illinois running back/return specialist Justin Hall
After playing in the Under Armour All-America Game as a high school athlete, Justin Hall originally signed with Northern Illinois of the Mid-American Conference. However, he soon found his way to Western Illinois University where his star shined brightly as a redshirt freshman. The former three-sport standout from Homewood-Flossmoor High School quickly found success. The... Read more »

3 things we learned: Powerful ground game helps Valley newcomer turn tables on SIU

3 things we learned: Powerful ground game helps Valley newcomer turn tables on SIU
Grinding teams down with a powerful ground game has been an important trait for the Southern Illinois football team. On Saturday, in the opener of its spring season, the Salukis saw how effective another team was at following that same path. North Dakota, in its first game as a member of the Missouri Valley Football... Read more »

Southern Illinois enters spring determined to earn FCS playoff spot

Southern Illinois enters spring determined to earn FCS playoff spot
Fifteen months ago, the Southern Illinois football team was riding the high of five wins in six games to finish the 2019 season. Then, the Salukis experienced the emotional letdown of not being chosen for the FCS playoffs despite a 7-5 record and five wins in the rugged Missouri Valley Football Conference. As SIU kicks... Read more »
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Speedy Cox offers Southern Illinois a versatile weapon

Speedy Cox offers Southern Illinois a versatile weapon
As Avante Cox raced around the DakotaDome on Oct. 26, 2019 — racking up 193 total yards and three touchdowns for Southern Illinois in a 48-28 win against South Dakota — Mark Watson had an uneasy front-row seat for the breakout performance. Little did either of them know that day that they would be linked... Read more »

EIU's Hill overcomes waiver mountain & scales to new heights

EIU's Hill overcomes waiver mountain & scales to new heights
When Eastern Illinois opens its spring Ohio Valley Conference season Sunday at UT-Martin, the Panthers will have a key offensive piece that wasn’t in place when they kicked off the 2019 fall campaign. EIU added talent-laden receiver Isaiah Hill back then, but had to endure the NCAA transfer waiver process. While the governing body weighed... Read more »

Weathering the spring presents challenges for Illinois FCS teams

Weathering the spring presents challenges for Illinois FCS teams
Cold, snow and wind await unique spring schedule amid COVID-19 pandemic When it comes to playing college football outdoors in the spring, Nick Hill considers growing up in Illinois perfect preparation. “It could be 70 degrees and sunny or it could be cold and blowing 25 miles an hour,” said Hill, the head football coach... Read more »
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MVFC notes: Fresh faces team up to replace Robinson at ISU

MVFC notes: Fresh faces team up to replace Robinson at ISU
Before James Robinson made himself an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was piling up nearly 1,900 yards as an Illinois State senior. When the Redbirds kick off the spring season Feb. 20 at Missouri State, the rushing attack will have plenty of new faces trying to replace Robinson... Read more »

With two members leaving, the Ohio Valley Conference searches for answers

With two members leaving, the Ohio Valley Conference searches for answers
As January wound down, news broke that the Ohio Valley Conference was losing two of its valued members effective at the end of this academic year. Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State are leaving the OVC; both programs will join the Atlantic Sun Conference. In addition, Central Arkansas is leaving the Southland Conference to join the... Read more »

WIU recruiting class heavy on experienced transfers

WIU recruiting class heavy on experienced transfers
Seeking to bolster its recruiting class with experienced players, Western Illinois has signed 18 players, 12 of which are transfers. Five of those transfers come to Macomb with FBS experience. Eight have experience at the FCS level. “We targeted a veteran group with experience and feel like we got that,” WIU head coach Jared Elliott... Read more »
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Lights, camera, action: EIU long snapper embraces role as TV weather forecaster

Lights, camera, action: EIU long snapper embraces role as TV weather forecaster
As a winter storm charged through Central Illinois last week, Stephen Elmore shared a photo on Twitter of an ice- and slush-covered O’Brien Field in Charleston, home of the Eastern Illinois football team. The conditions certainly impacted Elmore’s duties as a junior long snapper for the Panthers. But the storm also piqued his interest as... Read more »