Seniors Shine in Victory Over Missouri State on Senior Day
Written by Nate Keeney on November 16, 2019
NORMAL -Redbird seniors are leaving Hancock Stadium on a high note.
Senior day opened with the ‘Birds defense forcing an early turnover on the second Missouri State drive of the day when cornerback Devin Taylor intercepted a tipped pass inside the attacking red zone, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Redbirds pushed them fifteen yards back.That penalty would prove to be costly as the Bears’ defense would force a field goal attempt that lead to a Sam Fenlason miss.
An interception by Charles Woods on the next drive set up the Redbirds to open the scoring when quarterback Brady Davis found freshman Kacper Rutkiewicz for his first touchdown catch of the year. MOSU would soon answer with a 74-yard touchdown run by Jeremiah Wilson, but the Bears could not convert on the two-point conversion.
ISU would begin the second quarter with a touchdown to go up 14-6 when Davis hit receiver Tristan Bailey in the endzone for his second touchdown pass of the day.
Redbirds’ back-up quarterback Bryce Jefferson would take over for one play after Davis went down with a knee injury in the middle of the second quarter.
“He didn’t feel comfortable with it,” said head coach Brock Spack. “He has no pain. So, we’ll obviously do an MRI as fast as we can on Monday and see what the deal is.”
Jefferson’s first and only pass was picked off by Angelo Garbutt of Missouri State, leading to a MOSU field goal. Freshman Jack Baltz would take over at quarterback for the remainder of the game.
ISU’s defense continued to shine after a fumble by MOSU in their own red zone was recovered by senior Tuvone Clark. The ‘Birds finished the game with three turnovers, recording two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
The Redbirds turned to senior James Robinson on offense for much of second half with their quarterback issues. Robinson moved into second place all-time in rushing yards at Illinois State after posting 155 yards on 29 carries.
MOSU had two dramatic opportunities to take the lead within the last three minutes of the game with an interception and a Robinson fumble, all being within 5 plays. But the Redbirds defense remained tall, as they have all year, when senior Luther Kirk sacked Peyton Huslig on 4th down with 30 seconds left. ISU turned to victory formation to secure a 17-12 victory to move to 8-3 on the year.
A victory for seniors on their Senior Day is impressive, but they aren’t celebrating yet. “They’ve had a heck of a year so far,” said Spack. “But there’s a lot of football yet to be played and we hope that we can continue down this road.”
The Redbirds will close out the regular season on Saturday when they travel to take on the Youngstown State Penguins.