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FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Nathan Erickson wasn’t
called upon often, but he certainly delivered. Western Illinois
football scored half its points on the foot of the senior kicker
Saturday (Sept. 7) in a 38-13 setback to Colorado State.Erickson finished the matchup with a career-high seven points on a pair of field goals, while quarterback Connor Sampson recorded his first collegiate touchdown.“Our
defense did a good job creating some takeaways and getting some balls
on the ground. They were able to keep us alive there in the second half
and kept giving us chances, but we have got to find a way to eliminate
the big play on defense,” said head coach Jared Elliott.
“We gave up too many in the air early on, and offensively, we had
several opportunities, several possessions, and when we were able to get
in the rhythm, we weren’t able to capitalize.”Colorado
State found the end zone in two of its first three drives of the
afternoon, and both were capped by 70-yard catch and runs.The
very first play from scrimmage resulted in a 75-yard touchdown
reception, and the 14-3 advantage came on the back of a 77 yarder.
Breaking up the stretch was a forced fumble by Greg Benton Jr. and recovery by Demetri Royer, and the possession ended in the first of two Leatherneck field goals.Erickson
was responsible for all of Western’s first half-points as his team
entered the locker room trailing, 28-6. With a pair of forced fumbles
credited to their name, the visitors won the turnover margin but
maintained just 78 yards of total offense at the break.Sampson and Tony Tate each
recorded their first touchdowns of the season late in the fourth
quarter when the quarterback found his receiver near the five-yard line.
Tate spun to face the end zone and crossed the pylon with the momentum
of a Ram defender on his back.
Kendon Walker set
up the drive with 48 of the 85 yards. His 42-yard rush, the longest of
the season, put the Leathernecks at CSU’s 26-yard line.“We
have some things we need to get cleaned up, and I think there is a lot
to learn from this game, but I am proud of how our boys played,” Elliott continued. “It was encouraging to see Kendon [Walker’s] run and the finish there by Tony Tate.”Be
bold and wear gold. Next Saturday, the Leathernecks head to Hanson
Field for the first time of the 2019 season, where they will play host
to Montana State. Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the first 250
fans through the gates will receive a rally towel.
The Leathernecks were seeking their first FBS win since doing so
back-to-back in 2016 (Northern Illinois) and 2017 (Coastal Carolina)· Western is now 0-2 in first-time meetings this season (North Alabama, Colorado State)·
Colorado State fumbled the ball four times (nearly five) and lost two.
At the midpoint of the second quarter, the Leathernecks forced and
recovered a fumble in the end zone, but the ruling was overturned for a
CSU touchdown. The call pushed the Rams’ ahead 21-6 with 8:43 to go· Erickson’s two field goals set a single-game, career-high with makes at 32 and 44 yards· Mike Viti notched a game-high 11 tackles with six coming unassisted