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Date Posted: 23:18:59 09/09/03 Tue
Author: Starter
Subject: WIU-LSU Preview

Leathernecks to Take on LSU

Western Illinois at LSU
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003 • 7:00 p.m.
Tiger Stadium • Baton Rouge, La.

FIRST-EVER MEETING WITH LSU, SEC, RANKED I-A TEAM
Not only does Saturday’s game mark the first-ever meeting between LSU and Western Illinois, but it also represents Western’s first game against an SEC school. It is believed that the 11th-ranked LSU Tigers represent the first ever ranked I-A opponent for the Leathernecks.

FIRST No. 1 RANKING IN SCHOOL HISTORY
A 34-12 win over I-A Eastern Michigan helped propel Western Illinois into the nation’s top spot in both the coaches’ and media polls this week, marking the first No. 1 ranking in school history. The Leathernecks have been ranked No. 2 12 different times and were ranked No. 3 in this year’s preseason poll.

SECOND STRAIGHT I-A TEST FOR NATION’S TOP I-AA TEAM
For the second consecutive week, the nation’s No. 1-ranked I-AA team will face a I-A opponent. Last week’s top team according to the polls, McNeese State, was defeated by Kansas State, 55-14.

EIGHT QUARTERS WITHOUT ALLOWING A TOUCHDOWN
The Leatherneck defense has yet to allow a touchdown this season, giving up five field goals in eight quarters. Neither Wayne State nor Eastern Michigan reached the end zone.

PATTERSON LEADS NATION IN I-A WINS
Don Patterson is the nation’s only active I-AA coach with four I-A wins over the last five years, having led the Leathernecks to a 4-2 record against I-A teams in his first five seasons as head coach. Patterson defeated Northern Illinois in his very first game in 1999, defeated Ball State in 2000, and Northern Illinois again last season, while the two I-A losses came to Missouri (2000) and South Florida (2001). The Leathernecks have played at least one I-A team each season since 1993, and have won four of the last six.

LARGEST CROWD IN LEATHERNECK HISTORY EXPECTED
The Leathernecks may play in front of their largest crowd ever this week at Tiger Stadium (cap. 91,600). The current all-time largest crowd to witness a Western Illinois game is 53,224 - the 2000 season opener at Missouri.

PATTERSON, SABAN FAMILIAR FACES
Western Illinois head coach Don Patterson and LSU head coach Nick Saban spent several years together on opposing sidelines in the Big Ten. Saban served as head coach at Michigan State from 1995-1999, the same time Patterson was finishing his tenure as an assistant coach at Iowa. Patterson spent 20 years with the Hawkeyes before becoming Western Illinois’ head coach in 1999.

HOLDER HAS LASTING TIGER STADIUM MEMORIES
Offensive line coach Rod Holder has some lasting memories of Tiger Stadium. As a member of the Miami Hurricanes’ o-line from 1985-89, Holder helped hand LSU a 44-3 loss during the 1988 campaign.

AGAINST THE BCS
Coming into the matchup at LSU, the Leathernecks have faced just one other BCS team. Western was defeated by Missouri, 50-20, in the 2000 season opener in Columbia. The attendance of 53,224 was the largest crowed ever to see a Western Illinois game.

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