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Monday, Nov. 1

'Birds still winless on road after 24-21 loss  Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 1, 2004]  BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- A Western Kentucky defensive stop late in the fourth quarter was the difference in the Hilltoppers' 24-21 win over Illinois State on Saturday, keeping the Redbirds winless on the road this season at 0-4.

Illinois State drops to 4-4 on the season and 2-3 in the Gateway Football Conference and will play host to No. 1 Southern Illinois next Saturday.

The Hilltoppers struck first when quarterback Justin Haddix found a wide-open Chris Brunemann in the end zone at the 4:08 mark in the first quarter, giving Western Kentucky an early 7-0 lead.

Illinois State quarterback Yance Vaughan (20-37, 255 yards, two TDs, interception) struck back in the second quarter when he connected with Ramon Barber (four catches, 37 yards, TD) for the Redbirds' first score. The touchdown was set up two plays earlier when Vaughan completed a 24-yard pass to Jason Horton (three catches, 72 yards) on third and long. Stephen Carroll's kick was no good and the Hilltoppers maintained a 7-6 advantage.

Western Kentucky extended its lead to 10-6 with a 29-yard field goal, but the Redbirds took the lead on a two-minute drill. Vaughan completed three straight passes, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to Horton, to give the Redbirds a 13-10 lead going into halftime. Carroll's extra point set a new school record for career points and career kick scoring with 267 points respectively.

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Brian Porter ran the second-half kickoff back 66 yards to the ISU 11-yard line, setting up the Hilltoppers' second touchdown and a 17-13 lead. Haddix and Stephen Willis connected for the score.

Special team breakdowns led to another Western Kentucky touchdown when the Hilltoppers began the fourth quarter at the ISU 33 after Dennis Mitchell ran the punt back 47 yards. The decent field position eventually led to a touchdown run by Porter, which extended the Hilltopper lead to 24-13.

The Redbirds inched closer with 4:04 left in the game. Barber's 9-yard reception set up a 1-yard sneak by Vaughan, and Kevett Mickle (six catches, 63 yards) hauled in the 2-point conversion to cut the Hilltopper lead to 24-21.

The Hilltoppers were able to hold off the Redbirds the rest of the way for the game's final score.

[Illinois State University news release]

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