Despite Kicking Efforts, WIU Falls to 0-2
WIU headed into its week two matchup with FBS Colorado State looking for an improved performance after a stinging loss to North Alabama in week one. While the Leathernecks dropped the game as a whole, there were some bright spots and things to be proud of for the Leathernecks.
One of those bright spots was the play of kicker Nathan Erickson. Erickson had a tough year at times last season, but has come out of the gate strong in 2019. He has started the season 3/4 with a long thus far of 44 yards, a mark he set Saturday in Fort Collins. In that game, he also set a career high mark in points scored with 7. In a day where the Leatherneck offense really wasn’t able to get anything going against an athletically superior defense, Erickson’s performance became crucial for any chance of WIU success.
The Colorado State defense was stifling and the offense was prolific as the Rams looked to prove they were not the same team that finished 2018 with a 3-9 record. Of particular note for the Rams was the performance of redshirt-junior quarterback Collin Hill. Hill finished the day 25-32 for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Leatherneck secondary had no answers. Dante Wright and Marvin Kinsey Jr. were problems for WIU in the receiving game as well, as Kinsey racked up more than 100 yards while Wright was able to nab 2 touchdowns on the day. Kinsey was able to rack up a further 90 yards on the ground as he was a troublesome issue for the Leathernecks all day.
Statistically for WIU, Tony Tate hauled in the team’s only touchdown on the day, while he finished slightly behind Kendon Walker for the lead in total offense among skill position players. Throwing-wise, it was another rough day for Connor Sampson as the redshirt-junior finished with a just-above-50-percent completion rate, while only racking up 151 yards in the air. Given his 37 attempts on the day, he threw for an average of slightly more than 4 yards per attempt.
WIU will once again be looking for an improved offensive performance when they play the 2019 home opener this Saturday, September 14th. The opponent will be Montana State, as the ‘Necks look to rebound from nearly topping the Bobcats in Bozeman a season ago. Kick off for this game is set for 3 PM and the game can be seen on ESPN+ as WIU’s News3 production team kicks off its 2019 slate as well.