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Redbirds ready for final stretch of the season

Redbirds ready for final stretch of the season

NORMAL – The Illinois State Redbirds are hot on the trails of a playoff berth, but they need to finish strong in their final 3 games to clinch one.

After back-to-back losses to two top ten FCS teams in North and South Dakota State, the Redbirds find themselves needing a win against a tough Northern Iowa Panthers team.

“They have a strong-arm quarterback and athletes all over the field. They’re really no different than the Northern Iowa we have seen in the past or from what we’ve seen on our schedule already.”

Head coach Brock Spack talked a lot about what his team has faced and specifically how the Missouri Valley Conference might be at the height of FCS football.

“There are some very good teams in this league. Without a question is the best [conference] in FCS football. I think the depth of the league is better, and the last couple years it has been that way.”

It’s hard to argue with coach Spack, throughout the MVC there have been a whirlwind of decisions between teams that emphasize the depth that is included in this conference. The Panthers have beaten South Dakota State as well as suffering a loss to Western Illinois, a team the Redbirds beat just a month ago.

“There are some very good teams. And the last two weeks we’ve lost to very good teams. What I’ve learned is that in any league, there are teams that fall off toward the end of the season.”

That is what Spack hopes to lead his team away from.  As it stands now the Redbirds are one of only three teams from the Missouri Valley that are ranked inside the Stats FCS Top 25 Poll, the others being North and South Dakota State.  Avoiding anymore let downs to teams within the MVC will be crucial to the Redbirds playoff chances.

“It’s a playoff game every Saturday and every game takes on its own life. This is no different, we’ve got some big games to play but we only take them one at a time.”

The Redbirds will take on the Panthers from the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa this Saturday starting at 1 p.m.

Isaac Missel

November 2nd, 2018

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