Redbirds End Season with an Overtime Win over Western
Written by Luke Biondi on November 22, 2022
Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics
NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State Redbirds Football team was able to come away with an overtime victory against Western Illinois in the final game of the season. The game was low scoring and was competitive throughout, with a final score of 20-13.
Before the game, Senior players and their families were honored for senior night. The Redbirds started out hot with an interception by Sy Dabney that was returned for a touchdown. The Leathernecks struggled to respond, with a missed field goal attempt on the next drive. No other scoring happened in the first quarter, with the offenses mostly utilizing their running backs.
WIU running back Erin Collins had a standout performance against the Redbirds. Collins finished the game with 33 rushes for 163 yards. Collins also scored the Leathernecks’ first points in the second quarter.
Illinois States’ Wenkers Wright Answered later in the second quarter, rushing in a touchdown for the Redbirds.
“We began to see what the linebackers were doing,” said Wright. “So I mainly just focused on how I was reading blocks. I knew what the linebackers were going to do basically before the ball was even snapped.”
The PAT was missed, so the score going into the half was 13-7. Illinois State also proved dependent on their run game, with Wright rushing 29 times for 129 yards.
Teams found little offensive success throughout the beginning of the third quarter, with the second half’s first points being scored by Mason Laramie with a 41 yard field goal. Offensive struggle was a theme throughout the game, with both teams having a total of 107 passing yards combined.
The next points scored were late in the fourth quarter, with Laramie making a 33 yard field goal. The score was 13-13 heading to the end of regulation. A Redbird drive down the field at the beginning of overtime led to a 9 yard rushing touchdown by Tommy Rittenhouse.
“We kept calm and I just saw the eyes of the corners,” said Rittenhouse about his game-winning play. “That play wasn’t called, it was originally supposed to be an inside zone, but I started seeing the corners and safeties crashing so I felt confident in keeping one”
The Leathernecks were unable to answer in overtime, as the final score was 20-13.