BLOOMINGTON — Starting 0-2 for the first time since 2005 wasn't what Illinois Wesleyan's football team expected.

Yet the Titans are far from finished, said senior halfback Bryce Dooley.

"We know we're a good offense and a good football team," said Dooley, a LeRoy High School graduate. "We're just going to try and get our swagger back a little bit and see what we can do this week. We have to get in the win column."

Playing their first game at home probably won't hurt, either.

After road losses at No. 16-ranked Wisconsin-La Crosse (33-27 in overtime) and No. 11 Wheaton (24-10), the Titans finally get to play a game on the Tucci Stadium turf.

IWU, which has dropped out of the top 25, entertains Augustana (2-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday on Family Weekend. The Vikings opened the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin season last Saturday by routing Elmhurst, 55-13.

"We have to play with an attitude on Saturday, there's no doubt about it," said IWU coach Norm Eash. "We have to do whatever it takes to win."

After rolling up 544 yards and 32 first downs against La Crosse before being derailed by seven turnovers, the IWU offense stalled against Wheaton. 

The Titans totaled 151 yards and 10 first downs. That included seven series with only three or four plays without getting a first down.

Dooley said quarterback Brandon Bauer made a good point during practice this week.

"Brandon wants us to get back to the basics and just have fun playing football and do what we do best," said Dooley. "We have a lot of experience on offense, in the skill positions mostly."

While IWU doesn't control its fate in the CCIW at the present time, Eash said that doesn't mean all is lost. The goal now is to win the final eight games and see what happens at the end.

But, first and foremost, it means winning Saturday.

"It's all about accountability. It's us," said Eash. "We have control of our situation on Saturday and if we want to change it and get a win, then we'll do it. We're tired of losing. Enough is enough."

Senior defensive tackle Chance Hilliard said the players are ready.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase how much we've improved since last week," he said. "We're excited for it." 

Kicking update: Eash said senior Patrick Tata, who has missed the first two games with a leg injury, is probable for Saturday's game. 

While Tata started the season as IWU's placekicker and punter, he may only do the punting.

Freshman Jonathan Rukujzo is 3-of-3 on the field goals, among 27 kickers nationally to not miss thus far, and 4-of-4 on extra points. Another freshman, Andrew Stange, handled kickoffs last week with two touchbacks.

Senior wide receiver Dean Zugulich did the punting against Wheaton. Using a rugby-style approach, Zugulich averaged 32.4 yards on seven punts.

Wojciak returns: Junior guard Chris Wojciak missed the Wheaton game to be the best man at his brother's wedding. He was replaced by senior Sam Soto, who was injured with freshman Maurice Mendenhall taking over.

Eash said Wojciak will be back in the starting lineup. 

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Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Benson


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