"THE ONE WHERE I TRY TO DROP SOME ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE ON YOU"
Emphasis on try. We're talking about Western Illinois here. I'm not putting hours of effort into finding tons of nuggets about Western Illinois. The gnomes agree with me that this is not being lazy, it's being practical.
SOME LIGHT PRE-PREVIEW READING...
Rival Bloggler Q&A - Leatherneck Edition: JD talks to Scott from Leatherneck Nation. Seriously, I'd give this a read because JD did some homework before talking to Scott (who brought the informative answers).
Gopher Depth Chart and Injury Report for Western Illinois
Donnell Kirkwood Has A Vision And He Needs Your Help
The Gophers are going to win this game. I have no doubt in my mind that they will. Did I say that last week? Yes I did. Does it apply to this week? Yes it does.
As I noted in a comment yesterday, Western Illinois has an interesting nickname:
WIU's nickname, the Leathernecks, and its mascot, the English bulldog, are taken from the traditions of the United States Marine Corps. The university has had permission to use the official nickname and mascot of the Corps since 1927, when Ray Hanson, then-athletic director and coach of the baseball, basketball and football teams, gained permission to use the symbols as a homage to his service in that military branch during World War I. Western Illinois University is the only non-military university to use a military nickname.
Marine's huh? Well the gnomes think this image represents the threat that Western Illinois poses to us.
And no, in this comparison we are not Gunny Sgt. Hartman. We're Private Joker or perhaps Animal Mother if you're feeling a little odd.
When and Where:
11AM CST; TCF Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, MN
Radio: KFAN (100.3 in the Twin Cities) and the Gopher Radio Network (Radio Affiliates). You can also listen to the game via the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device.
Internet: BTN2Go for your computer or mobile device.
Where Are They From?
The Gophers have never played the Leathernecks.
Do you actually care? I don't either. GopherSports is telling me that the ended the year on a 6 game losing streak though. So I guess that makes them the Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference. #FreeFloyd
2013 Season To Date:
The Leathernecks are 2-0, with victories over Quincy and Hampton. Per GopherSports:
In last Saturday’s 34-6 win against Quincy, the Leathernecks gained 549 total yards, including 278 rushing. Running back J.C. Baker accounted for two touchdowns on the ground.
Two WIU players have garnered Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Week recognition this season. Defensive back Dallas Nichols earned the honor for his 97-yard interception return touchdown, fumble recovery and five tackles against Hampton, while quarterback Trenton Norvell got the nod after 24-for-34 passing for 278 yards and two touchdowns against Quincy.
Takeaway? If we're as bad as Quincy we've got trouble ahead of us on Saturday.
Head Coach: Bob Nielson (1st Season)
Does that name sound familiar? It should. Bob Nielson was the head coach and athletics director at Minnesota-Duluth. In his decade as the leader of the Bulldog football program he build a 100-26 record, including NCAA Division II National Championships in 2008 and 2010.
3 Players to Watch:
1) Trenton Norvell (QB - rFR): Completed 65% of his passes (38/58) for 362 yards in 2 games, including 278 yards last week. Has thrown no INTs. Originally at Cincinnati before transferring to Western.
2) J.C. Baker (RB - Jr): Leads the team in rushing with 190 yards over the last 2 games. Rushed for 144 yards on 14 carries in last week's win over Quincy.
3) Jonathan Rollins (DB - Jr): The teams best pass defender. Has 1 INT and 3 PBA's in 2 games. Preseason 2nd Team All-MVC and was key contributor to last year's defense.
Keys to the Game:
- Passing game improvements: I want to see an increased completion percentage (57% or better) for Philip Nelson and no drops. I don't want to see the O-Line give up any sacks to an inferior opponent. I want to see at least 1 passing TD.
- FINISH: No opening the game with stalled drives in the red zone. Run it up early and get the backups some playing time.
- The KILL chant: Because Donnell Kirkwood will run you over if you don't.
How Afraid Am I?
On a scale of 1 to 5 "Brewsters on his face" (1 being not a afraid, 5 being very afraid)?
1 BREW MUSTACHE ON THE TCF TURF.
I'm not even a full Tim Brewster torso afraid of Western Illinois.
Completely Worthless Prediction:
We're not playing North Dakota State and we are not Quincy. Gophers put the rout on and jump to an early 21-3 lead. The Gophers will score at least 1 defensive or special teams TD on their way to a 48-10 victory.
More from The Daily Gopher:
- Rival Blogger Q&A: Scott Lawson from Leatherneck Nation
- Minnesota Football: Depth Chart and Injury Report for Western Illinois
- Minnesota Football Releases Brick by Brick Episode #4, "The Return"
- Minnesota Football: Listen Up Gopher Football Fans! Donnell Kirkwood Has A Vision.
- Sunny Side Up- per Deck