Western rewind: Leathernecks come up short on early drives, fall to No. 2 SDSU

South Dakota State’s Isaiah Davis rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to lead the No. 2 Jackrabbits to a 34-10 victory against Western Illinois. (Photo by GoJacks.com)

By Barry Bottino

Two trips into South Dakota State territory in the first half yielded only three points for Western Illinois.

The missed chances ended up being a sore spot for the Leathernecks (0-5 overall, 0-2 Missouri Valley Football Conference) on Saturday in Brookings, S.D., against the No. 2 Jackrabbits in a 34-10 loss.

“We missed opportunities to score,” WIU head coach Myers Hendrickson said. “We’re close. We are close in a lot of aspects, but we did not finish drives or make big plays when we had the chances for big plays.”

Western managed 10 first downs and was limited to 220 total yards by SDSU (4-1, 2-0), which is allowing an MVFC-low 15 points a game.

Junior quarterback Clay Bruno started for Western, finishing 10-for-20 passing for 129 yards. He also lost a fumble and threw an interception.

WIU’s lone touchdown came when backup QB Henry Ogala connected on a 56-yard pass to Naseim Brantley with just under 6 minutes left in the game. Brantley fumbled at the SDSU 1, and WIU wide receiver Jay Parker recovered in the end zone.

Game changers

10:17, 1st quarter: SDSU’s Isaiah Davis plowed in for a 2-yard touchdown to start his 199-yard rushing day. He ran for 54 yards in the opening quarter.

11:51, 2nd quarter: WIU kicker Mason Laramie hit a 35-yard field goal for WIU’s only points of the first half.

5:54, 4th quarter: Brantley’s 56-yard reception was the longest play of the game for either offense.  

What it means

Western heads into its bye week with an 0-5 record. They also started 0-5 during the spring COVID season in 2020 and began the 2019 season with an 0-8 record.

Nifty ‘Necks

Prairie State Pigskin chooses the top three Leatherneck players in the game:

Brantley: For the third time in five WIU games, the receiver surpassed 100 yards in a game.  He finished with 107 yards on four receptions.

T.J. Limehouse, DB: The senior safety led all players with 11 total tackles and added a pass breakup. 

Mason Laramie, K: The grad student from Schaumburg improved to 4-for-5 this season on field goals by kicking a 35-yarder in the first half.

What’s next? The Leathernecks have a bye week before traveling to Southern Illinois for a 2 p.m. game Oct. 15 in Carbondale.

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