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Date Posted: 18:59:15 09/11/03 Thu
Author: Starter
Subject: No. 1 Leathernecks Install Final Preparations for LSU

No. 1 Leathernecks Install Final Preparations for LSU

MACOMB, Ill. - For the second week in a row, the nation’s number-one ranked I-AA team is preparing to face one of the nation’s top I-A teams. The top-ranked Leathernecks, who earned the first No. 1 ranking in school history earlier this week, are installing the final preparations to face the 11th-ranked LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (Central).

“Our intensity at practice has stepped up this week,” said head coach Don Patterson. “We realize that we have to be on top of our game, so the players have had good concentration and focus during our workouts.”

The Leathernecks bring a 2-0 record into Tiger Stadium Saturday night, entering an environment that many players have never experienced. Practices this week have included a simulation of crowd noise, piped in through a large sound system.

“We didn’t use the crowd noise Monday or Tuesday, because a lot of teaching goes on during those sessions early in the week, but we broke it out yesterday and we’ll have it again today,” Patterson said. “They told me yesterday that we blew a speaker, so we may be over-preparing in that sense. But our players have to realize that it makes communication aggravating. But once you break the huddle and the ball is snapped, it’s still just football, and you still have to focus on the fundamentals.”

The last time crowd noise was used to prepare for a game was prior to the 2000 season opener at Missouri.

Last week, then-No. 1 McNeese State was defeated by fourth-ranked Kansas State, 55-14, and dropped to the No. 3 slot. The Cowboys take on No. 2 Georgia Southern this weekend.

“It’s a nice compliment to be number one,” said Patterson, “but the challenge is, can you stay there for longer than a week. We know that if we accomplish that, it means we played extremely well on Saturday.”

Saturday’s matchup will feature one of the top I-AA defenses against one of the top I-A offenses. The Tigers have posted a 2-0 record with wins over Louisiana-Monroe (49-7) and Arizona (59-13), scoring 108 points in the first two games, while the Leathernecks enter the contest without having allowed a touchdown this season.

After last week’s Western Illinois victory at I-A Eastern Michigan (34-12), the Leathernecks are the only I-AA team in the nation to have four I-A wins in the last five seasons. Saturday will mark the very first meeting between the two schools, as well as Western’s first game against an SEC team.

The game will be televised by Cox Sports in Baton Rouge, but no local arrangements are available.

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[> Does it involve a white flag and cries for mercy ? -- the unknown, 21:18:56 09/11/03 Thu

It should

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