Phil Archer had a team-high 90 tackles for the Leathernecks. He had 29
assisted tackles for a total of 119 tackles (10.8 per game). That total was
second to Lee Russell’s 123. He had 13 tackles for loss, totaling 26 yards.
Archer broke up six passes, forced three fumbles and recovered two fumbles
Phil Archer had three forced fumbles in 2001 for the Gophers, ranking in
a tie for fifth in the conference and he added two sacks. He had a career-high
20 tackles and forced a fumble at Illinois and recorded 16 tackles, including 11
solo tackles against Purdue and Michigan.
Archer saw playing time in 10 games as a redshirt freshman, playing
mostly on special teams.
Archer was a graduate of St. Paul (MN) Cretin-Derham Hall and was a
two-time all-state selection. He had 121 tackles, including 92 solos, as a
senior in ’98. Archer also had 19 tackles-for-loss and two interceptions and was
a SuperPrep All-Midwest Team choice. He had 15 tackles in the Raiders’ 7-6 loss
to Champlin Park in the ’98 Class 5A semifinals. Archer was a three-year letter
winner who finished with 203 career tackles, including 156 solo tackles. He also
played defensive end, defensive tackle and fullback at one time or another for
Archer and the Leathernecks will find out where and when they play next
when the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs are announced on Sunday, November 23 at
12:00 p.m. (CDT) on ESPNews.
The Leathernecks return five all-Americans from a squad that went 11-2
and finished among the nation’s top five teams last season, and placed a
league-high 10 players on the 2003 Gateway Preseason All-Conference Team. They
have won four of the last six Gateway Conference titles. The Leathernecks return
seven starters on the offensive and defensive side of the field.
Western Illinois University was picked No. 1 in the Football Gazette’s
National I-AA Preseason Top 40 Poll. Western Illinois was chosen among the top
four in both The Sports Network and ESPN/USA Today I-AA Preseason Top 25 polls,
placing third and fourth in the media and coaches’ polls, respectively. The No.
3 ranking by The Sports Network marks the highest preseason rank in Leatherneck
history, and just the second time that a Western Illinois squad has been placed
in the preseason top 10 (No. 8 in 1997). Last season Western Illinois was ranked
40th in the preseason poll and climbed to No. 2, matching the highest regular
season ranking in school history.