SETTING THE SCENE
Date: September 18, 2021
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Web site: Charleston, Illinois
Stadium: O’Brien Discipline
Collection: ILS leads 57-42-9
Final: ILS gained 21-3 (Sept. 14, 2019)
Hear: WJBC AM 1230 / 102.1 FM / 93.7 FM / The Varsity Community
After lacking their annual rivalry sport final 12 months because of the pandemic, Illinois State (1-1) and Japanese Illinois (0-3) renew one of many longest rivalries within the FCS in Charleston with the taking part in of the 109th Mid-America Traditional.
The Redbirds and the Panthers will meet for the 109th time on the gridiron, with Illinois State holding a 57-42-9 benefit within the sequence which dates again to 1901. The 2 groups final met in the course of the 2019 non-conference slate, with the Redbirds profitable 21-3 in Charleston. The win was the third-straight for the Redbirds within the sequence, the third straight for the ‘Birds in Charleston, and their fifth win within the final six video games general in opposition to the Panthers. Total, ISU head coach Brock Spack is 7-4 in opposition to EIU, the place he began his teaching profession beneath the legendary Bob Spoo.
Illinois State: Brock Spack (Purdue, 1983) is in his thirteenth season as the pinnacle coach at Illinois State (86-54). Spack guided the Redbirds to back-to-back shares of the MVFC title in 2014-15 and an look within the 2014 FCS Championship. He has led the ISU to eight playoff appearances general and is 2 wins away from changing into this system’s all-time wins chief.
Japanese Illinois: Adam Cushing (College of Chicago, 2002) is in his third season as the pinnacle coach at Japanese Illinois (2-19). Previous to taking the pinnacle job at EIU, Cushing spent 15 years on the Northwestern teaching workers, with 13 seasons spent beneath the tutelage of head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT
- Japanese Illinois College is situated in Charleston, Illinois, and has an enrollment of 8,630 college students. The Panthers are members of the Ohio Valley Convention and play their house video games at O’Brien Discipline (10,000).
- The Panthers are off to an 0-3 begin to the season, after dropping a Week Zero matchup at MVC foe Indiana State, falling to South Carolina on the street and at Dayton.
- EIU was restricted to only 5 offensive performs within the third quarter final Saturday, as Dayton scored 17 factors whereas holding the ball for a lot of the quarter. The 17 factors scored by the Flyers was all of the offense they would wish as they held off the Panthers, 17-10.
- Punter Logen Neidhardt was named the Ohio Valley Convention Particular Groups Participant of the Week following the Panthers’ loss at Dayton. Neidhardt helped the Panthers flip the sphere on a number of events within the sport, as he averaged 52 yards per punt on six punt makes an attempt within the sport. He sailed an extended punt of 72 yards, with one punt downed contained in the 20-yard line, and three extra punts went for touchbacks. On the season, Neidhardt ranks twenty third within the FCS in punting common at 45.9 yards per punt.
- Jason Johnson was named a preseason first crew All-OVC choice after incomes first crew All-OVC honors final season at linebacker. Johnson led the OVC in tackles per sport final season ending the 12 months with 66 tackles. His 11 tackles per sport ranked ninth within the FCS.
- Johnson was joined on the All-OVC preseason first crew by kick returner Matt Judd. Final season, Judd he earned second-team honors on the place main the OVC in kick return common at 24.8 yards per return. Judd additionally sees time at broad receiver hauling in eight passes for 109 yards and a landing in six video games in the course of the spring.
LAST TIME VS. THE PANTHERS (9/14/19)
No. 12 ranked Illinois State scored on its first drive of the sport and by no means seemed again, because the Redbirds retained possession of the Mid-America Traditional trophy with a 21-3 victory at O’Brien Discipline over the Japanese Illinois Panthers within the 108th assembly between the 2 squads. Operating again James Robinson completed the sport with 146 yards dashing and tied his profession excessive with three landing runs. In complete, the Redbird protection tallied eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in opposition to the Panthers and held them to only 197 yards of complete offense.
SPACK TIES THE RECORD
Illinois State’s season-opening win over Butler was a memorable one for head coach Brock Spack, who’s now 86-54 in his profession at ISU and is now tied with Edwin Struck for essentially the most wins in program historical past. The win additionally pushed Spack’s report in house openers to 12-1 at ISU and improved his non-conference report to 25-11 general. He might break the tie this weekend with a victory at Japanese Illinois, the place he began his collegiate teaching profession.
BOHLKEN WITH THE BOOT
Senior punter JT Bohlken was one of many Redbirds’ largest weapons at Western Michigan, as he persistently flipped the sphere and saved the Broncos at bay together with his proper leg. Bohlken averaged practically 50 yards per punt (49.8) and had six punts over 50 yards. His first of the evening was his longest at 64 yards and his shortest punt of the evening of 32 yards pinned the Broncos inside their very own 5-yard line, certainly one of two makes an attempt that pinned the Broncos deep in their very own finish. Bohlken is now averaging 48.3 yards per punt on the season on 10 makes an attempt with six punts over 50 yards. His 48.3 common at present ranks No. 4 within the FCS and No. 2 within the MVFC.
The Redbird protection needed to provide you with huge performs at Western Michigan, and two of the most important of the evening got here on huge hits that brought on turnovers by the Broncos. The primary got here within the second quarter when WMU was driving deep in ISU territory, when Jude Okolo popped the ball unfastened and fellow defensive lineman Josh Dinga got here up with the soccer on the ISU 4-yard line to stamp out a possible rating. Then, late within the fourth quarter linebacker Jeremiah Jordan made an enormous cease and popped the ball unfastened and nostril deal with Michael Gomez got here away with the soccer for the second turnover of the evening for the Redbirds.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Braden Price was all around the area for the Redbirds of their win over Butler within the season opener. The Wheeling, West Virginia, native recorded a pair of interceptions and tied for the crew lead with seven tackles in opposition to the Bulldogs. The interceptions have been the primary two for Value in his time as a Redbird and he was additionally credited with a sack within the contest. His second interception of the evening got here within the endzone because the Bulldogs have been threatening and on the following play from scrimmage after the touchback, Cole Mueller ripped off an 80-yard landing run.
GROUND AND POUND
A powerful dashing assault is nothing new to Redbird groups, nonetheless it seemed a bit totally different in opposition to the Butler Bulldogs. As an alternative of relying closely on one again the likes of Coprich or Robinson, the Redbirds shared the soccer and racked up practically 300 yards on the bottom with 5 dashing scores. Cole Mueller, who missed all of final 12 months resulting from an Achilles damage, led the best way with 111 yards and two dashing touchdowns and Kevin Brown rushed for a career-high 81 yards. Sophomore Nigel White scored the sport’s first landing for ISU and even quarterback Bryce Jefferson received in on the act with a pair of dashing scores.
JEFFERSON DOES IT ALL
A powerful fall camp for quarterback Bryce Jefferson gave everybody contained in the Redbird soccer program purpose for pleasure headed into the season. Primarily based off his efficiency within the season opener, it seems followers can be happy to look at the Redbird signal-caller all season lengthy. Jefferson accounted for 4 touchdowns (two passing, two dashing) in Illinois State’s season-opening 49-7 win over Butler Saturday evening, because the Redbird offense racked up 491 yards of complete offense in opposition to the Bulldogs. Jefferson threw for 193 yards, together with a 44-yard landing strike to Austin Nagel, and rushed for 37 yards on the bottom with scores of 5 and 14 yards, respectively.
SUCCESS IN HOME OPENERS
The Redbirds have been superb at house beneath the management of head coach Brock Spack, particularly within the house opener every season. After the crew’s 49-7 win over Butler within the 2021 house opener, ISU is now 12-1 within the first sport of the season at Hancock Stadium.
LOTS OF FAMILIAR FACES
Followers who received to see the Redbirds in individual final spring will discover quite a lot of acquainted faces and names on the sphere Saturday evening within the house opener in opposition to Butler. ISU returns 58 letterwinners and 19 starters (10 offense, 9 protection) from the spring squad that went 1-3. A lot of these faces received into the motion in opposition to Butler, as 10 totally different gamers caught passes within the contest and 31 gamers have been credited with not less than one deal with within the closing stats.
REDBIRDS IN THE PROS
Because the NFL readies to open its season this weekend, a number of Redbirds can be representing this system as a part of skilled rosters. 4 Redbirds made 53-man rosters together with James Robinson and James O’Shaughnessy in Jacksonville, Davontae Harris in San Francisco and Shelby Harris in Denver. Becoming a member of Harris in Denver is current All-American offensive deal with Drew Himmelman, who earned a spot on the Broncos’ apply squad.
HANG YOUR HAT ON DEFENSE
The 2021 squad will function a protection that was among the best within the MVFC and within the nation in a number of classes final spring. The Redbirds ranked No. 4 within the FCS in go effectivity protection (97.91), No. 7 in third down conversion share protection (.288), and No. 10 in complete protection. ISU was additionally No. 12 within the nation in dashing protection (95.00), which additionally led the league. With 9 starters returning on protection for the Redbirds this fall, one ought to count on that the protection will as soon as once more be one thing followers can rely on each week.
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