Fourth-Quarter Rally Lifts No. 9 Redbirds
To 21-7 Win
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[October 27, 2014]
NORMAL - In a defensive slugfest,
No. 9 Illinois State (7-0, 4-0 MVFC) turned momentum gained from a
third-quarter defensive stop into a fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown,
lifting the Redbirds to a 21-7 victory over Missouri State (4-4, 1-3
MVFC) Saturday night at Hancock Stadium in front of a crowd of 10,164.
ISU improved to 7-0, the schoolís best start to a season since
1932, and extended its home winning streak to 10 games in a row
since Hancock Stadium was renovated.
Junior transfer quarterback Tre Roberson capped an eight-play,
80-yard, fourth-quarter drive with a 7-yard rushing touchdown to
secure the Redbirds victory. Roberson finished with 169 yards
passing, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 85
rushing yards and one touchdown to his productive night. Walter
Payton Award Watch List member Marshaun Coprich powered his way to
his seventh-consecutive 100-plus yard rushing game, running for 148
yards on 31 carries.
The Redbird offense exploded out of the gate with an 85-yard opening
scoring drive that ended with a 28-yard passing touchdown from
Roberson to Scott Kuehn. Roberson split the Bearsí double-coverage
on a deep post route to Kuehn, who hauled in his third-career
touchdown and his second of the season. The subsequent extra point
was missed wide left, giving ISU a 6-0 lead.
A promising opening drive by Missouri State stalled at the 35-yard
line. Three straight 15-plus yard plays from scrimmage were spoiled
by a personal foul penalty against the Bears. After the first two
drives, the rest of the first half was highlighted by tough defense
from both squads. In the second quarter, the Bearsí 36-yard field
goal attempt was blocked by junior defensive end Teddy Corwin and
ISU eventually took a 6-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Missouri State came out hot on its first possession of the second
half with a 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 30-yard
passing touchdown from Kierra Harris to Deion Holliman. Hollimanís
first reception of the year gave the Bears a 7-6 lead. The turning
point of the game came with less than two minutes remaining in the
third quarter, when the Bears drove to the ISU 29-yard line and
looked to be on the verge of adding to their one-point lead. Senior
defensive lineman Bradon Prate sacked Harris to force a
third-and-long, which the Bears failed to convert.
[to top of second column]
The Redbirds took over and on the ensuing drive, a 15-yard personal
foul penalty against the Bears and completions of 21 and 23 yards
from Roberson to senior Cameron Meredith set up Robersonís go-ahead
touchdown with 12:14 remaining. The pair also connected on a pass
for the two-point conversion to give ISU a 14-7 lead. ISUís defense
forced a three-and-out on the next drive and the Redbird offense
added some insurance with a two-yard passing touchdown from Roberson
to senior tight end James OíShaughnessy to give the Redbirds a 21-7
With their undefeated record still intact, the Redbirds hit on the
road to take on Northern Iowa (4-4, 2-2 MVFC) next Saturday at the
UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at 4 p.m.
[Michael Williams, Illinois State
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