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Game Day

10/22/2014

UNI (3-4) vs. Western Illinois (3-5)

When: Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Hanson Field, Macomb, Illinois

Kickoff: 1 p.m. CDT

South Dakota State kicker Justin Syrovatka nailed a 44-yard field goal with 1:47 left to seal a 31-28 Missouri Valley Football Conference win over Northern Iowa last weekend, a slap in the face for the Panthers, a team that was looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading down the home stretch. UNI quarterbacking didn’t help the cause as Sawyer Kollmorgen and Brion Carnes were a combined 20-for-35 for 178 yards and three interceptions. Western Illinois, UNI’s next opponent and owners of one of the coolest names in college football — the Leathernecks — is smarting from a close loss of its own last weekend, a 37-34 defeat at the hands of league-leading Illinois State. The Leathernecks will be one of two things: Pissed or reeling. UNI better hope for the latter.

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Drake (4-3) vs. Butler (3-4)

When: Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Drake Stadium

Kickoff: 1 p.m. CDT

You know what? A win is a win is a win. Drake’s performance against lowly Valparaiso isn’t something the squad will use for anything other than to officially store in the “How To Win Ugly” file deep within the recesses of Bulldog Stadium. A 17-9 victory put the Bulldogs over the .500 mark but hopefully not at the cost of some of its confidence. Valparaiso (2-5) took a 9-3 lead into the fourth quarter before Drake quarterback Andy Rice scored on a 1-yard run and Drew Ormseth put the game away with an interception return for a touchdown. Next up for Drake is Butler, which came up short in its bid to knock off a tough San Diego team, 27-21 last week. The Bulldogs’ (both teams sport the same nickname) results may have been different, but the mindset of the clubs may be backassward heading into this Pioneer League tilt. Drake — iffy. San Diego — confident. This will be a good one.

Nebraska (6-1) vs. Rutgers (5-2)

When: Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska

Kickoff: 11 a.m. CDT

Through three quarters of last weekend’s Big 10 contest against an average-at-best Northwestern team, Big Red fans had to be wondering if this was where their hopes would end. Again. Enter Ameer Abdullah. Again. The primetime Husker running back scored three of his four touchdowns on the night in the second half to propel Nebraska to a 38-17 win. Phew. Brows wiped, brews consumed, all is well. At least until Saturday. With 5-2 Rutgers coming to town this weekend, Husker fans will be sweating it come Friday night in what could be one of the nation’s premiere ga…..ah, who’s kidding who? This will be an ass-kicking from the opening whistle. Rutgers displayed its firepower in a 56-17 loss to Ohio State the previous week, and, of its five wins, the biggest was against Michigan. By two. Enough said. Huskers by a mile.

Minnesota (6-1) vs. Illinois (3-4)

When: Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois

Kickoff: 11 a.m. CDT

With Iowa State and Iowa having bye weeks, the attention shifts to Big Ten West-leading Minnesota and Illinois. If the previous sentence — particularly the part about the Gophers being in the lead — sent you scrambling to Google Machine to disprove it and send hate mail our way, don’t bother; it’s correct. Say what you will about the Big 10 being way down this year — and you’d be right — but the Gophers and their fans could care less. For now, at least, they’re off the Suckwagon and into the Glory Hole (a little “Gold Rush” reference there for you fans who caught the scintillating season premiere last Friday). Anyway, this week Minnesota meets the Fighting Illini of Illinois. Problem is, there isn’t much fight left. Illinois has lost four of five, with its lone win coming against Texas State last month. Minnesota senior running back David Cobb has rushed for 1,013 yards and five TDs already this season. Illinois gave up more than 350 yards rushing in a loss to Wisconsin Oct. 11, setting the stage for what will be a bloodletting. Minnesota — enjoy the ride for one more week. Then? Ohio State. Best wishes. CV

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