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"A Cinderella opportunity"

Danny Hope spent five seasons as head coach at Eastern Kentucky, a FCS school.

So he has a good idea what Western Illinois coach Mark Hendrickson's message will be to his team this week before playing at Purdue.

"It's a Cinderella opportunity," Hope said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "You live for those. When I went back to Eastern Kentucky as the head coach, I really upgraded the schedule a lot. We had not played many BCS or Division I-A football teams on an annual basis. To me, it was something that was exciting, created more revenue than all the other games put together all the years. It created ... an opportunity to shock the world.

"And those are things that fuel your soul and are exciting. They'll come here excited and hoping to manufacture a win that's historic and can impact their program and last forever."

Hope said some FCS teams have been able to beat FBS opponents because they're landing more FBS talent.

Players can transfer down from an FBS school to a FCS school without sitting out a year. So some FCS schools "recruit" those kind of transfers, Hope said.

Western Illinois' starting running back is Caulton Ray, a transfer from Michigan State.

"It's easier to get the ones that are bounce-back than it is to try to identify and go head-to-head (with FBS programs) because everybody knows where they're at, and that pecking order really beats you up in the recruiting process," Hope said.