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Redbirds Fall in MVC Opener

NORMAL – The Illinois State Redbirds traveled to Springfield, Missouri to take on the Bears of Missouri State in their MVC opener on Saturday. The Redbirds entered the matchup ranked 9th in the nation in stats poll and 10th in the coaches poll. After a back and forth game, the Redbirds fell just short for the first time this season, losing by a score of 24-21.

After many empty possession for both sides in this one, the Missouri State Bears were able to open the scoring late in the first quarter when MSU kicker, Parker Lacina, nailed a 42-yard field goal with about three minutes left on the clock. Defense dominated almost the entirety of the first quarter, as the Redbirds were only able to muster up 21 yards on offense, and the score sat at 3-0 at the conclusion of the first.

The ‘Birds opened the second quarter with the ball on their own 1-yard line and but were unable to get the wheels turning as they quickly went three-and-out. Missouri State then capitalized on the great starting field position, as they drove the ball 50-yards in 8 plays for a touchdown. After the made extra point, MSU lead ISU 10-0. The Redbirds were once again unable to make any noise on the offensive side of the ball, only gaining 73 total yards the entire first half.

Down 10-0 to start the second half, the Redbirds were finally able to get off the shcnide with 8 minutes to go in the third. Brady Davis found Spencer Schnell in the corner of the endzone for a 5-yard touchdown to cap off an impressive 7-play, 52-yard drive. The Defense then came up big on the ensuing drive as a Luther Kirk interception gave the Redbird offense great field position. The offense quickly capitalized only needing two plays to score. Brady Davis and Spencer Schnell connected once again in the corner of the endzone to take their first lead of the game. MSU answered with authority, driving 75 yards to reclaim the 17-14 lead.

Missouri Sate Opened the final quarter of play with the ball, and made the most of it. The Bears drove the ball 80-yards in 10-plays to go up 24-14. The Redbirds responded strong, when Brady Davis connect with James Robinson for a 43-yard touchdown, bringing the ‘Birds within a field goal with about three minutes left to play in the game. The defense was able to keep MSU off the board, and the Redbirds had a chance to tie the game with 4 seconds left on the clock. The Missouri State field goal unit was able to come up with the biggest play of the game, and blocked a Sam Fenlason field goal attempt, and sealed the 24-21 victory.

The Redbirds will look to bounce back on Saturday October 6th, when they welcome in Western Illinois into Hancock Stadium. Kickoff for the matchup is set for 2pm.

Hector Carrion contributed to this story 

Hector Carrion

October 4th, 2018

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