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Redbird Football Takes on Bears in Family Weekend Match

Written by on October 1, 2021

Image Courtesy of goredbirds.com

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State football team returns home this weekend for their family weekend game. After three straight road games the Redbirds are back home to face the Missouri State Bears at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The Redbirds and Bears will have their 41st matchup with ISU holding a 22-17-1 in the all-time series, which dates back to 1971. The last time these two teams met was in 2019 where the Redbirds won 17-12. The Redbirds have won five of their last six matchups against the Bears and the last four meetings at Hancock Stadium.

The Bears are 2-1 so far this season and are coming off a spring season that saw them go 5-2. The Bears come into the match ranked No. 16 in FCS and are on a two-game win streak. They have built a tough resume, losing 23-16 to Oklahoma State, who was then ranked No. 22 in the FBS. They followed that up by beating FCS No. 16 Central Arkansas 43-34 and South Dakota 31-23.

Quarterback Jason Shelley is coming off an impressive game against South Dakota where he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two as well to lead the Bears comeback win over South Dakota.

Last time out the Redbirds fell to the No. 7 ranked Southern Illinois Salukis 35-17. Despite leading 17-0, the Redbirds allowed the Salukis to score 35 unanswered points to close out the game. While on the road the Redbirds won only one of their three games.

The Run game has been a key factor for the Redbirds success, rushing for 152 yards last weekend against the Salukis. Cole Mueller has come to be the leading rusher for the Redbirds, rushing for 87 yards, including one that went for 40 yards for the Salukis.

Freshman quarterback Jackson Waring has continued to get better, throwing for 166 yards on 13 completions with no interceptions.

The defense has been one of the key factors for the Redbirds this year, as they were able to hold the Salukis scoreless through two quarters last weekend. The only concern on the defensive side of the ball is big play breakdowns as that has hurt them this year.

The Redbirds will get a week off after this before returning to the gridiron for their homecoming game on Oct. 16 against North Dakota State.