For Immediate Release
Oct. 22, 2010
Football Ready to Host New UMAC Foe Northwestern
EUREKA, Ill. – For the first time in nearly a month, the Eureka College football team will play at McKinzie Field when the Red Devils host the Northwestern (Minn.) Eagles in an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference game Saturday at 1 p.m. The game marks the first-ever meeting between the new conference rivals.
The Red Devils bring the UMAC’s third-ranked passing attack (226.5 YPG) into the contest and trail league-leader Crown by less than two yards per game for the league lead in yards through the air. Wide receivers Dillon Reed (Illiopolis, Ill./Sangamon Valley H.S.) and Wes Schmidgall (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Culver-Stockton) have been dependable targets all season, as both players rank among the top-six in the league in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. The Red Devils will hope to exploit the Northwestern pass defense that ranks seventh in the league, allowing 201.2 yards per game. The Eureka ground game has also been effective as of late, aided by a career-high 110 yard rushing performance from sophomore running back Ethan Lord (Dupo, Ill./Dupo H.S./Iowa Wesleyan) last week at Crown.
Based out of St. Paul, Minn., the Eagles bring a 1-5 overall record and a 1-2 mark in UMAC play into Saturday’s game with the Red Devils. Sophomore quarterback Josh Balzer ranks third in the league with 153.7 passing yards per game, but has tossed a league-high 15 interceptions in six games. Northwestern ranks near the middle or bottom of the UMAC in most statistical categories, but is the least-penalized team in the league with only 21.7 penalty yards per game. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive back Luke Delain ranks second among UMAC players and seventh nationally with 13.0 tackles per game, trailing only Eureka’s Mike Minehan (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./McKendree) for the UMAC lead (15.7).
Northwestern kicks off a three-game road trip Saturday in Eureka, although the middle game of the stretch will be played just seven miles from its campus at the league’s 11th annual Dome Day in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. on Oct. 30. Saturday’s game against the Red Devils is Northwestern’s only game outside the state of Minnesota all season.
VOLLEYBALL: The Eureka volleyball team will make a short road trip on Saturday to play first-year program Robert Morris-Peoria at noon at the RiverPlex in Peoria, Ill. The Red Devils are looking for their first victory on the road since a three-set sweep at MacMurray on Oct. 2. The Eagles, who will be playing on their home floor for the first time since Sept. 9, are 3-21 on the season, have lost 19 straight contests and are 0-3 against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference members.
SOCCER: The Eureka men’s and women’s soccer teams will play their final road matches of the 2010 season Saturday afternoon in a SLIAC doubleheader at Principia starting at 1 p.m. in Elsah, Ill. The women’s team, who has won back-to-back matches and hasn’t allowed a goal in the last 227 minutes, will look to avenge a 7-0 defeat suffered against the Panthers at Traister Field on Sept. 25. The Eureka men are also looking to even the season series with Principia after dropping a 2-1 decision against the Panthers on Sept. 25, the second consecutive season the Red Devils have lost by a single goal at home against Principia.
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