Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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ISU Spring Camp Report: Air Assault Puts Up Points Early In Scrimmage

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[April 23, 2014]  NORMAL Big passing plays of 48 and 77 yards resulted in early touchdowns for the offense in Saturday's second scrimmage of the spring for the Illinois State football team, but the defense battled back with three turnovers and two defensive touchdowns late in the game of 80-plus plays at Hancock Stadium.

"I thought the offense might put up 35 points early, the way they were throwing and running it early," said ISU head coach Brock Spack. "To the defense's credit, they bounced back and forced some turnovers late that resulted in points, but a championship offense needs to have that killer mentality and be able to put teams away. I stressed that to the team afterwards, and I think they could have the ability to be that kind of team, but they have a long way to go before Sept. 6."

The first-team offense wasted little time to score six points, as quarterback Blake Winkler led the team on a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Winkler led things off with a 10-yard gain on a bootleg, and running back Marshaun Coprich followed with a 14-yard run to midfield. After another short run by Coprich that moved the offense into enemy territory, Winkler connected with tight end Joe Farmer for a 48-yard touchdown strike that resulted in the first touchdown of the day.

Three series later, Trevor Rea led the second-team unit on another drive from its own 25-yard line. After a 2-yard loss on a tackle for loss by Cody Cameron on first down, Rea regrouped and threw it long to Anthony Warrum down the far sideline, who broke away for a 77-yard touchdown. Sean Slattery's extra point made the score 14-0 early in the scrimmage.

The defense tightened up and only allowed a 35-yard field goal by Nick Aussieker and a 28-yarder by Slattery after the two quick touchdowns. The offense found the end zone four series later, when Rea led the team on a 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive. This time, however, it was a steady ground attack that resulted in the touchdown. With the ball at the defense's 42-yard line, Brian Frapolly ripped off a 37-yard run that took the ball down to the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Jamal Towns ran the ball in nearly untouched for the third score of the day.

A 13-yard touchdown pass from Rea to Khalil Pleas during the red zone session eventually put a cap on the scoring for the offense. Rea finished the day 7-for-14 with 137 yards and two scores, and Winkler was 6-for-11 with 111 yards and the touchdown to Farmer. Lechein Neblett led all receivers with three catches, and Warrum finished with 83 yards on two grabs. Frapolly led all rushers with 74 yards on 16 carries, and Collin Keoshian added 49 yards on eight carries.

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Despite the tough start, the defense bounced back late in the scrimmage and forced three turnovers, two of which resulted in touchdowns. The first turnover came via a Winkler pass that was batted in the air by Mike Banks and corralled by middle linebacker Pat Meehan. Winkler's second interception of the game was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by safety Tevin Allen, and the final defensive score came on a sack by Patrick Dougherty, as he forced the fumble and scooped it up for the 12-yard score.

Linebacker Alex Donnelly and defensive lineman Rodrick Moore led all tacklers with six stops each, with Donnelly adding 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Safety Dontae McCoy also had a solid day with four tackles, including a sack on an edge blitz, and Allen added four tackles to his pick six.

The Redbirds took the rest of the Easter weekend off before returning to the field Tuesday afternoon to begin the final week of spring workouts.

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]


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