If you're going to WIU, the closest cities near you are Davenport, Iowa and Peoria, Illinois. You're damned close to Missouri too. Did you know there's a Mexico, Missouri? That's weird.
Situated in Macomb, IL, WIU has a total enrollment of 13,600. The university was founded in 1899 as the Western Illinois State Normal School. They had to identify it as a normal school to separate it from the loony bins. Fact. According to Forbes, they are the 413th best university. US News and World Report has them 49th in the region.
Their athletic teams are called the FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS, but their mascot and logo is a bulldog, which is pretty goddamn confusing. Even more confusing is that the female sports teams were known as the Westerwinds until 2009. The bulldog mascot has to do with WIU's connection to the Marines. WIU is the only non-military institution with permission to use the USMC official seal. The bulldog is named Colonel Rock or Rocky.
Oh snap, also, they received their land for the university from the Illinois freemasons. So there's probably a secret handshake at WIU.
Famous Western Illinois Alumni include:
Bryan Cox - former NFL All-Pro linebacker
Rodney Harrison - former NFL All-Pro safety
Frank Winters - former NFL center for the dirty Packers
Joe Decker - Guinness record holder for world's "fittest" man
Gene Lamont - former MLBer and current Tigers bench coach
Mary Matalin - Republican strategist and James Carville's wife
Rick and Paul Reuschel - former MLB pitchers
Robert Nardelli - former Chrysler and Home Depot CEO, one of CNBCs' worst CEOs of all time
Kind of a wacky and wild list there. So, the university is in the middle of nowhere, has freemason connections, has mascot confusion and a bunch of interesting alumni. What about their football team?
The Fighting Leatherneck Bulldogs are 2-0 with wins over Hampton and a dude named Quincy. They handled both of those teams easily, with a total of 76 points for and just 15 against.
Nikko Watson and J.C. Baker are the main threats in the running game with a combined 353 yards on the year. Redshirt freshman QB Trenton Norville has 362 yards passing with Hi-C Scott and Fredson Salomon getting the bulk of the action at WR.
Their defense has intercepted the ball 7 times already, with 6 different players having at least one. Defensive back Johnathan Rollins has 2 INTs.
Their kicking game seems to be a work in progress. Nathan Knuffman is both their placekicker and punter and while he seems to be ok at punting, he's 0-3 on the year for FGs. 2 of the attempts have been blocked. Possibly by Nathan kicking the ball into his line.
None of this really matters as the Gophers should be able to exert their will over the Leathernecks. Hopefully this game is a nice confidence booster for Nelson and we can get him out of there relatively early and get Mitch Leidner some work as well. Coming out of the game healthy would also be nice as we've lost key players in both games with Boddy-Cahoun ripping about 42 knee ligaments against NMSU. Sucks. Donnell Kirkwood will reportedly suit up, but remains doubtful to play. Freshman Berkley Edwards may be available the following week as well.
Gophers 48, Bulldognecks 13
Hi-C Scott, WR
Fredson Salomon, WR
Sterling Mack, LB
Pretty weak group of names.
What They're Saying on Twitter:
Oh yeah #Mayweather #Canelo at my apt tomorrow! $5 BYOB DM me for details #WIUC'mon Don Jon, get a keg bro.
— Don Jon Ditka (@ChicagoMadeSean) September 13, 2013
I cant stand #WIU man ho do you expect me to make something of myself if yall not giving me a chance. #fuckitThe Masons will be banging on this dude's door in 3, 2, 1...
— August 31st, 1991 (@BlazAsainBro) September 13, 2013
2Chainz is coming to #WIU ?! #Homecoming2013 pic.twitter.com/diTdSiVOA72 CHAIIIIIIIIIINZ...let's hope he stays there.
— Heather (@Fletchhh7) September 13, 2013
Classy drinking picture 💗 haha #imanidiot #wiu pic.twitter.com/pYgbKJh7SKYeah, there isn't much football chatter. What are you gonna do?
— Grace Cleair (@GraceCleair) September 13, 2013
S/O to my team on the way to Minnesota to play the gophers turn up time to shock the world #WIU #D1 #LEATHERNECKS #2-0Oh, here's one. Let's go no world shocking for now.
— Devon Sanders (@Vonn_Wiuboy) September 13, 2013
On the Sidelines: #WIU football sets out on Gopher hunt -- http://t.co/J9xKGMRvkOGopher hunting!!! Do they eat gopher in bumfuck Illinois? Sounds like coach Neilson and the boys have the right attitude coming in at least.
— Ben Marth (@Ben_WGEM) September 13, 2013
#Ritz #Thursday #mirror #selfie #army leggings #me #senior #wiu #awesome http://t.co/6hkzqpx5Ub
— Neeeeeeeeeena (@BelloDesastre89) September 13, 2013