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February 22, 2024

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Football looks for first win of season

The Falcons football team will continue to look for their first win of the season on the road Saturday night against the Northwestern Wildcats.

The team knows that they will have to improve their run defense going forward to give themselves a chance at the first win.

“We know what Northwestern’s going to do, they’re going to be sound,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “They’re good up front, they’re going to be physical, they’ve got a great running game, (Northwestern running back Justin) Jackson is probably one of the better backs on that side of the conference. We’re going to have to contain him.”

The team also gave up a total of 525 yards defensively in their previous matchup against the South Dakota Coyotes, including a 72 yard touchdown pass. Additionally, the team feels that Northwestern will tend to put a heavy focus on defending the pass, meaning that the team must take advantage in the running game.

“We’re going to have to limit the explosive play in their passing game,” Jinks said. “From an offensive standpoint, they’re stout, they tend to leave the box light at times, so we’re going to have to be able to run the football when they have five men in the box, so we’re not trying to pass the ball 40 or 50 times.”

The team is also going to continue using the stretch of non-conference opponents to get their younger players more ready for the beginning of Mid-American Conference play, while still doing the best they can under the circumstances to win the non-conference games.

“What we’re trying to do right now is try to continue to build a program,” Jinks said. “We’re playing a lot of young kids, but that’s no excuse. We’ve got to give them their way, we’ve got to get them ready to go and keep them out there. Really the key is keeping their confidence up and making sure that they still believe.”

Despite last game’s loss, the team was able to take away a major positive in the strength of their running game, which had a total of 166 yards on 37 carries.

“Last week was a function of being down 21-3,” Jinks said. “In the first half we ran it well and we got to the point where we couldn’t just hand the ball off anymore, so it’s not about making those mistakes early in the ball game, it’s about doing the little things that keep you in the game and (keep) you from having to throw it just to catch up.”

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