Redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Winkler made the most of his
first career start, guiding the Redbird offense to season highs in
points (31) and first downs (20). Winkler finished 18 for 25 for 201
yards with one touchdown, connecting with nine different receivers
in the win. He also added 10 carries for 34 yards, which included a
career-long 15-yard run. Illinois State compiled a season-best 165
rush yards, with Marshaun Coprich compiling 66 rush yards on 15
carries and Collin Keoshian adding 54 yards on 16 carries with two
Defensively, the Redbirds allowed a season-low 288
yards of total offense, registered a season-high five sacks and
forced one turnover. David Perkins led the way with a career-best
2.5 sacks and a team-high six tackles. Pat Meehan added six tackles
and one sack, and Mike Banks had five tackles and a forced fumble.
Josh Burch returned the opening kickoff 42 yards, giving ISU good
field possession at its own 44-yard line. Winkler guided the Redbird
offense on a seven-play, 56-yard touchdown drive. Facing a
fourth-and-one from the Abilene Christian 10-yard line, Keoshian
broke through the defensive line for a touchdown run, putting
Illinois State in front 7-0.
The Redbird defense collected its second takeaway of the season,
after Abilene Christian drove deep into Redbird territory. Wildcats
quarterback John David Baker completed a pass to DeMarcus Thompson
to the Redbird 10-yard line, but Banks knocked the ball loose and
Bradon Prate recovered to end the threat.
The Redbirds would then drive 74 yards over 14 plays to score on
a season-long 35-yard field goal from Nick Aussieker. On the drive,
Winkler collected an 11-yard rush for a first down, connected with
James O'Shaughnessy for a first down gain on third-and-long, and
went 23 yards for a first down to Anthony Warrum. The field goal put
Illinois State on top 10-0 with 14:01 to play in the first half.
Abilene Christian responded with a touchdown drive, scoring on a
23-yard pass from Baker to Darian Hogg. After forcing a Redbird
punt, the Wildcats nailed a 27-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10
with 3:52 to play in the first half.
[to top of second column]
Another long return from Burch had Illinois State open the drive from its
own 35-yard line. Winkler scrambled for a career-long 15 yards on the
first play from scrimmage, moving the ball to midfield. The Redbirds
then ran a play-action fake, with Winkler finding Phil Dudley for 29
yards and a first down. A block-in-the-back penalty erased a would-be
Redbird touchdown. After an incomplete pass, Illinois State faced third
down from the Abilene Christian 19-yard line. Winkler, on the run, fired
a touchdown pass to Cameron Meredith, giving Illinois State a 17-10 lead
with 1:48 to go in the first half.
The Redbirds added one more score before halftime, when
Warrum recorded his first career punt return for a touchdown,
weaving 62 yards down the left sideline for a score as time
expired to give Illinois State a 24-10 lead at the break.
Late in the third quarter, ACU cut the ISU lead to 24-17 with an
eight-play, 50-yard drive that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown
pass from Baker to Hogg.
Illinois State capped the scoring midway through the fourth
quarter. On third-and-long, Winkler found Corey Shandrick for 11
yards for a first down. Two plays later, Keoshian barreled 12 yards
to put the ball at the 50-yard line. Winkler then evaded tackles for
a 13-yard scramble for a first down. After Keoshian added 7 yards on
the ground, Winkler found Scott Keuhn for a 23-yard completion to
the Abilene Christian 3-yard line.
The Redbirds return to the road to open Missouri Valley Football
Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Missouri State. Kickoff is
slated for 1 p.m. in Springfield, Mo.
Abilene Christian (PDF)
[Text from file received from
Illinois State University]