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September 28, 2013

Game Day — Hope at Illinois Wesleyan Football Preview

Here is a look at today's matchup of college football unbeatens between visiting Hope and Illinois Wesleyan.

Kickoff is 2 p.m.

Listen to the game on your radio at WYVN-FM 92.7 or on your phone through The Van's mobile app.

COACHES

Hope — Dean Kreps, 19th Season (97-82)

Illinois Wesleyan — Norm Eash, 27th season (166-88-1)

GAME NOTES

The Flying Dutchmen's 3-0 start is the best to a season since 1984 — when then-coach Ray Smith's Flying Dutchmen finished undefeated at 9-0. In 1990, Hope went five games before suffering a loss — going 4-0-1 during that stretch. 

Hope trails in the all-time series with Illinois Wesleyan by an 8-1 margin. The Flying Dutchmen lost the 2012 meeting at home 23-13, getting outgained 286-179 in a defensive struggle. 

The Flying Dutchmen feature the highest-scoring offense in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association at 39.7 points per game, while Illinois Wesleyan is second in the College Conference of Illinois-Wisconsin at 43.0 points per game. Hope is first in the MIAA in total offense at 545.3 yards per game, while the Titans are second in the CCIW at 496.5 yards allowed. Illinois Wesleyan tops the CCIW in total offense at 185 yards allowed, while Hope sits third in the MIAA at 322.3.

Senior quarterback Michael Atwell of Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo HS) needs 23 passing yards to become the fourth 5,000-yard career passer in Hope history. Atwell has thrown for 4,977 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career. Atwell is threatening to pass Greg Heeres for third all-time. Heeres had 5,120 passing yards between 1981-84. Atwell leads the nation in passing yards with 1,054 after three games.

Senior running back Shawn Jackson of Comstock Park (Comstock Park HS) is eight yards from passing 2,500 rushing yards for his Hope career. Jackson has 2,492 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. He ranks fourth all-time in Hope history and is chasing Kurt Bennett for third place. Bennett ran for 2,647 yards between 1973-76.

Click here to read about the Hope coaching staff's participation in a national "Coach To Cure MD" event today.

2013 TEAM STATISTICS

HOPE--STAT--ILL. WESLEYAN                                                                                   

 39.7 -- Points Per game -- 43.0

11.7 -- Opponents Points Per Game -- 12.0

184.3 -- Yards Rushing Per Game -- 223.0

361.0 -- Yards Passing Per Game -- 273.50

545.3 -- Total Offense Per Game -- 496.5

118.7 -- Opponent's Rushing Per Game -- 72.5

202.3 -- Opponent's Passing Per Game -- 112.5

321 -- Total Defense Per Game -- 185

6/6 -- Turnovers/Takeaways -- 8/4

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