Millikin coach Patrick Etherton isn’t the type of guy to shy away from a challenge.
And neither is the Big Blue.
That’s a good thing if you are a football team in the CCIW.
After coming up just short of knocking off No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan in overtime last week, Millikin welcomes
No. 11 North Central for its homecoming at 1 p.m. today at Frank M. Lindsay Field.
Etherton said he gave his players (3-1, 0-1 CCIW) the same amount of time as after a win to reflect on last week’s loss, before turning their attention to the Cardinals
“It’s tough (to lose). But just like wins, our guys get 24 hours,” Etherton said. “We met Sunday, it was tough and we watched it, but then it was behind us, and now we are on to North Central. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves because no one else is going to. North Central is not going to feel bad for us because we lost in overtime. So, we’ll get after it today and have a good practice.”
As for facing two nationally-ranked opponents in as many weeks?
“It’s just another great opportunity,” Etherton said. “We get to play two top 15 teams in the country the first two weeks in conference. That’s why the CCIW is such a great conference, though.”
Today’s game will feature the conference’s best-performing offense in Millikin, and its best defense in the Cardinals.
Millikin leads the CCIW and is eighth in the country in scoring at 44 points a game and averages the most total yards (451) and rushing yards (258).
The Big Blue also lead the country in passing efficiency, with a 195.03 ranking.
To counter Millikin’s offensive offering, however, the Cardinals lead the nation in pass efficiency defense, holding opponents to a 70.16 rating. And they lead the CCIW in total yards allowed a game at 227.25.
“I’m excited,” Etherton said. “I’m excited for our kids to have this opportunity. Our guys and our seniors are ready. This is why they came to Millikin.”
As part of its Homecoming festivities this weekend, Millikin inducted four members to its athletics hall of fame on Friday night.
Those four are Lance Brooks, Denise Fogle, Suzanne Murphy Short and Lin Stoner.
Brooks is a 2006 graduate that recently represented the United States in the discus competition at the London Olympics. While at Millikin, Brooks was a stand out in track and field while also playing basketball.
“When he was a student, I had him in class,” Etherton said. “He’s a great guy and good student. Great discus thrower, too. It’s amazing how much bigger he’s gotten since coming here.”
Fogle played first base for the softball team. At the time she graduated in 1991, she held the Millikin records for career hits, doubles, RBIs, putouts and batting average. She was also a James Millikin scholar and graduated summa cum laude.
Short lettered four years with the volleyball team, graduating in 2000.
Short holds three of the top five spots for all-time season assists for Millikin and the school record for career assists, with 5,582. She is also tied for second in career service aces with 185.
Lin Stoner was a member of the football and basketball teams at Millikin and graduated from Millikin in 1973 but never really left. He worked his way up to eventually become the Dean of Admissions at the school.
Under his leadership, the university saw consistent increases in enrollment, with new student enrollment ranking among the highest in Millikin history
“I see him and talk to him everyday,” Etherton said. “He was there when I was in school here. He was a big reason why I came here. He’s a big reason why my wife came here. He’s done so much to help the school and football team, he’s definitely deserving of the award.
“And he’s a great Monday morning quarterback, too.”