Titan football seeks eighth win

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Pat Mollo, Staff Writer

 

The Titans of Illinois Wesleyan enter week eight as a 7-0 team for the first time since 2011.

A Wesleyan win on Saturday would mark the fourth loss on the season for North Central college and the Titans’ first 8-0 start since 1996.

A high-powered offense and a fundamentally sound defense have helped the Titans outscore opponents 227-110 in their seven games thus far.  Spearheading that effort has been the preseason All-American selection and senior captain Artie Checchin.

“He has most certainly been our go-to guy.  Every time we need him he’s there.  We feel the most confident with the ball in his hands,” said sophomore defensive back Brinton Wilkey.

Checchin, the team’s number one wide receiver, has racked up 791 all-purpose yards for nine touchdowns in his All-American caliber season up to this point.  It would be extremely ill-advised of the North Central team to not center its defensive focus on Artie Checchin.

North Central has faltered in their three loses by been turning the ball over.  In two of two of their three losses, North Central has had four total turnovers that proved crucial to each game.

The threat of turnovers will add an extra chip on the shoulder of the Titan defense in their crusade against their conference rival.  Facing a team with ball security issues is sure to have the Titan defenders licking their chops.

This season, the Titan defense has generated 20 turnovers, with 11 interceptions and nine forced fumbles.

As far as Jack Warner and the offense are concerned, North Central has three starting defensive linemen that have combined for nine sacks this season.

If Warner has sufficient pass protection, the air attack should be in full force using weapons like Checchin, junior Dom Comfort, senior Andrew Javorka and junior wide receiver Austin Wagner.

“Their defense is ranked fourth in the conference and ours is ranked first.  We go against our guys every day so we should be more than prepared,” Wagner said.

Should the Titans declare victory this Saturday, they are in good shape to win the conference as well as earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs in November.

The last time the Titans were in the playoffs the year was 2013 and it resulted in a 41-7 loss to Wartburg College.

The game will be at 12:00 p.m. at Tucci Stadium against the Cardinals of North Central College.