Redbirds Fall to No. 20 Panthers, 25-21
Sept. 20, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Kevin Brockway had a career-high 240 passing yards and threw the first two touchdown passes of his career, but it wasn't enough for Illinois State to overcome five turnovers in a 25-21 loss to No. 20 Eastern Illinois at Hancock Stadium on Saturday.
Brockway connected with five different receivers, including Eyad Salem for seven catches and 105 yards. Brockway threw his first career touchdown pass to Salem on the opening drive and then hooked up with Kelvin Chandler for a 43-yard touchdown pass, all in the first quarter.
Illinois State (1-2) led 14-7 at the half and looking in control for much of the game while out-gaining the Panthers in total yardage, but three interceptions and two lost fumbles allowed Eastern Illinois (2-2) to creep back in the contest.
Brockway hooked up with Salem for a 17-yard slant route on the opening drive of the third quarter to put Salem over the 100-yard mark for the third time in his career. Salem became the first receiver to go over the century mark against the Eastern Illinois defense this season. Geno Blow capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Redbirds up 21-7.
After another Redbird defensive stop, Brockway threw his second interception to James Larson at the Illinois State 11 yard line. The Redbird defense held strong forcing a 21-yard field goal by Tyler Wilke to pull the score to 21-10.
The Panthers rode a fourth-quarter charge and scored 15 unanswered points. Bodie Reeder completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Alicus Nozinor to cut the Redbird lead 21-16, and after a fumble by Parrish Fisher, the Panthers were able to recover and capitalized with a 4-yard run by Chip Keys. Keys' dash gave the Panthers their first lead of the contest at 22-21. EIU added another field goal by Wilke with 4:13 seconds to increase the lead to 25-21.
Illinois State had one final possession but Brockway was sacked, threw two incomplete passes, and lost the ball after being sacked on fourth down. Eastern Illinois ran out the final seconds to end the game.
Defensively the Redbirds where led by Kelvyn Hemphill who recorded 10 tackles, including seven solos. He leads all Redbird defenders with 38 tackles on the season.
The win marks the first for Eastern Illinois over Illinois State since 2002, when Tony Romo led the Panthers to a 45-10 victory. The Redbirds had won six consecutive match-ups.
Illinois State opens Missouri Valley Football Conference play against Indiana Sate, when the Redbirds travel to Terre Haute, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 4.