Redbirds hang tough in loss to Minnesota
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[SEPT. 13, 2004]
-- For nearly three quarters Saturday, the Illinois State football
team kept the score close against Minnesota, but the Gophers, behind
a pair of 80-yard scoring plays, pulled ahead and avoided the upset,
The Redbirds fall to 1-1 on the season
and get set to face in-state rival Eastern Illinois next Saturday.
Illinois State set the tone almost
immediately and sent a message to the Gophers that the game was not
going to be an easy one. On Minnesota's first play from scrimmage,
Redbird linebacker Kye Stewart brought down Gopher running back
Marion Barber for a 3-yard loss, leading to a three-and-out series.
On the Redbirds' ensuing drive, Yance
Vaughan (33-57, 372 yards, two TDs, two interceptions) connected
with Ramon Barber, who ran 43 yards down the Minnesota sideline and
into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead. Barber finished the day
with six catches for 66 yards.
The Redbirds forced the Gophers to punt
on their second series when a touchdown pass was called back because
of a holding penalty. Minnesota got on the board with 6:27 left in
the first quarter on a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive.
Quarterback Bryan Cupito connected with Jared Ellerson on a 2-yard
strike, tying the game 7-7.
Trumaine Banks stalled the Redbirds'
next drive with an interception in the end zone on a pass intended
for Laurént Robinson (nine catches, 80 yards). Marion Barber put the
Gophers ahead with 8:25 left in the first half on a 5-yard touchdown
run up the middle, making the score 14-7.
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A 23-yard touchdown pass from Vaughan
to Jason Horton in one-on-one coverage tied the game at 14. The
Gophers regained the lead just before halftime when their two-minute
drill resulted in a 10-yard touchdown run by Barber. Justin
Martindale blocked the extra point, but the Gophers held a 20-14
Minnesota pulled farther ahead in the
second half with a field goal and an 80-yard touchdown run by
Laurence Maroney. An 80-yard strike from Cupito to Ernie Wheelwright
put the Gophers up 37-14.
James Temple stripped Justine Valentine
of the ball at the Minnesota goal line, and a penalty for roughing
the kicker set up the Redbirds' final touchdown. Vaughan ran in a
quarterback keeper from 1 yard out for the game's final score.
Demetrus Johnson was the leading rusher
for the Redbirds, carrying 14 times for 104 yards.
- Wide receiver Jason Horton hauled
in his first career touchdown pass in the second quarter on a pass
from Yance Vaughan.
Wide receiver Pierre Jackson played cornerback for the first time
in his career against Minnesota.
- Demetrus Johnson ended
Minnesota's streak of 15 straight games without giving up a
- The 16-point margin of defeat was
the lowest for the Redbirds against a Division I-A opponent since
a 20-14 loss to North Texas in 1996.
assistant athletics director, media relations,