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‘Birds Beat Bears in Nationally-Noticed Battle

Written by on November 7, 2023

Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State Redbirds football team is back to their winning ways after they defeated the Missouri State Bears in a shootout. The final score of the game was 36-35, and the Redbirds were able to improve their record to 5-4. Meanwhile, the Bears fell to a record of 3-6. 

With just over three minutes left in the game, Celdon Manning went on a 28-yard touchdown run to give the Bears a 28-35 lead. However, Head Coach Brock Spack and his team went on a two-minute drill and were able to score with 38 seconds left on the clock. Spack could have tied the game here, however, he decided he wanted to roll the dice and go for what would be his 100th career win at ISU. The Redbirds went for a two-point conversion which saw backup Quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse throw a game-winning pass to Wenkers Wright. 

However, there has been a lot of controversy online on whether this was a completed pass, even coming from NFL legend Terrell Owens, on whether Wright held onto possession as he crossed into the endzone. The referees said it was a completed pass; giving the Redbirds the win. 

It was a successful day for the Redbirds in all aspects of offense. Senior Quarterback Zach Annexstad passed for 291 yards and a touchdown. Junior Runningback Mason Blakemore had a busy day on the ground as he rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts. Wenkers Wright was also able to get a rushing touchdown of his own.

It was another tough go for the defense as they allowed over 30 points for the fourth time in the past five games. Missouri State’s Jordan Pachot had a stellar performance through the air as he passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Jacardia Wright was able to rush for 77 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Redbirds will play their next game on November 11th when they take on Murray State in their final home game.