Norm Eash's Titans are 12-13 on homecoming games since he became Illinois Wesleyan head coach in 1987. (Photo by WJBC/Eric Stock)
By Eric Stock
Most football coaches will tell you they don't like the all the distractions that come with homecoming and they won't get much sympathy from Illinois Wesleyan head man Norm Eash.
Three of his teams' four homes losses in the last four years have come on homecoming weekend. In 2009 and 2011, their homecoming losses were their only defeats at Tucci Stadium in the regular season.
IWU will try to reverse that trend and stay perfect on the season as the No. 14-ranked Titans host Carthage in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We want them to enjoy homecoming, but you enjoy homecoming a lot more when you win the football game," Eash said. "We've got to take care of that, we've got to do a better job."
One of those homecoming losses came at the hands of the Redman in 2008, 26-21.
Senior defensive lineman Andrew Biggerstaff said his usual homecoming routine involves participaing in the on-field events involving his fraternity, and then it's back to the football offices to study tape of that week's opponent.
"None of the guys really take it to a level where it's a distraction. I think freshman are more into it than we are now. We know what's going on as upperclassmen," Biggerstaff said.
The 5-0 Titans are the only remaining unbeaten in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, while Carthage (3-2, 1-1 in CCIW) is coming off a 44-10 loss to Wheaton.
The return of Joe Musso to the receiving corps after a shoulder injury gives the Titans a fully healthy offensive unit for the first time this season.
Junior right tackle Zach Anderson says the offense seems to be finding its groove as it reaches the midway point to the season.
"Up front, we feel like it's our job to keep (defenders) off T.J. (Stinde), let him make players, he's a hard runner. If we give Rob (Gallik) time back there, with his arm and those wide receivers are going to get open there are going to be big plays," Anderson said.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.