Redbird Football Bounces Back Against Eastern
Written by Eric Schweizer on September 19, 2021
Image is courtesy of goredbirds.com
CHARLESTON, Ill. – After getting shutout in week two, the Illinois State football team bounced back, defeating Eastern Illinois in the Mid-America Classic, 31-24.
The Redbirds got off to a hot start, scoring on their very first drive of the game with a 15-yard touchdown run by Nigel White. Later in the quarter the Redbirds would make a field goal to extend their lead to 10-0. With only 20 seconds left in the first half the Panthers would answer, scoring a touchdown on a 5-yard pass and brought the score to 10-7 at the half.
The Panthers got the ball to start off the third quarter, but Redbird Jarrell Jackson picked off the EIU quarterback and returned the ball 95 yards for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead. The Panthers would not go away however, hitting a 44-yard field goal and blocked punt returned for a touchdown would even this game at 17 all.
The Redbirds responded quickly, scoring a touchdown a minute and 25 seconds after the blocked punt. The Panther scored a touchdown of their own early in the fourth quarter and evened the score at 24.
Late in the quarter the Redbirds strong run game proved to be too much for Panthers. A three-yard touchdown run from Pha’leak Brown gave the Redbirds the lead with under two minutes to go. The Panthers were unable to answer, and the Redbirds got the 31-24 victory.
For ISU head coach Brock Spack this was win number 87 and made him the programs all-time win leader with a record of 87-54. Spack passed Edwin struck for most all-time.
It was all rushing for the Redbirds as they had a total of 239 rushing yards paired with only 54 passing yards. Cole Mueller led the way with 144 rushing yards followed by Pha’leak Brown with 53. The defense held the Panthers to 315 total yards on the day, recording the one interception.
The Redbirds head to Southern Illinois to take on the Salukis (2-1) next Saturday.