Monday, October 06, 2014
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No. 22 Redbirds Shut Down No. 9 Jackrabbits, 45-10

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[October 06, 2014]  NORMAL - A season-high 10,919 fans watched junior running back Marshaun Coprich rush for a career-high 174 yards and four touchdowns, as No. 22-ranked Illinois State (4-0, 1-0 MVFC) rolled to a 45-10 victory over No. 9 South Dakota State (3-2, 0-1 MVFC) on Homecoming Saturday at Hancock Stadium.

Coprich remained red-hot to begin the season, rushing for 100-plus yards for the fourth-consecutive game, to give him a Missouri Valley Football Conference leading 10 rushing touchdowns. Junior quarterback Tre Roberson threw for 168 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 151 more, to help the top offense in the league notch 499 total yards.

After both teams’ opening drives ended in punts, Illinois State’s stifling defense came alive, forcing the Jackrabbits to turn the ball over on their next three drives. The Redbirds scored a touchdown after each turnover to jump out to a 21-0 lead. Junior David Perkins got the ball rolling, forcing a fumble and then recovering another one, both of which led to Coprich rushing touchdowns.

The next turnover came courtesy of an interception by sophomore linebacker Oshay Dunmore, on a pass intended for SDSU senior wide out Jason Schneider. Once again, Coprich capitalized for the Redbirds on a fourth-and-goal situation, leaping over the Jackrabbits’ defensive line and recording his third touchdown of the day to make the score 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Redbirds continued the scoring on their next drive with a 25-yard field goal from senior kicker Nick Aussieker, aided by a 62-yard Coprich run, extending the ISU lead to 24-0 early in the second quarter.

The Jackrabbits finally got on the board courtesy of a 15-play drive that milked more than nine minutes off the clock. Senior SDSU kicker Justin Syrovatka split the uprights from the Redbird five-yard line to make the score 24-3. South Dakota State would not hold onto the momentum for long, though, as Redbird senior Tevin Allen took the ensuing kickoff from the 5-yard line and sprinted down the left sideline nearly untouched for a 95-yard kick return touchdown to extend the lead to 31-3. The Redbirds closed out the half with a another touchdown, thanks to a 28-yard pass from Roberson to senior wide receiver Cameron Meredith, giving the Redbirds a 38-3 lead going into break.

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Illinois State received the ball to begin the second half and picked up right where it left off before halftime. Roberson found his favorite target, senior wide out Lechein Neblett, on a 41-yard connection to set up Coprich’s fourth touchdown of the day, a five-yard scoring run that widened the lead to 45-3.

The only hiccups from the Redbirds came on a third-quarter interception from Roberson and a Coprich fumble. The Jackrabbits were able to convert one of the Redbird turnovers into points when SDSU sophomore quarterback Zach Lujan hit redshirt freshman Jake Wieneke for a 26-yard touchdown pass, making the score 45-10 in favor of the Redbirds.

The win on Saturday marked the ninth consecutive home victory for the Redbirds, the team’s longest such streak since a run from 1998 to 2000. The Redbirds will play their first away game of the season next weekend when they travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, to take on the nationally-ranked Sycamores of Indiana State at 2 p.m.

[Michael Williams, Illinois State University] Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.­­­­

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