No. 24 Redbirds Fall, 37-10, in MVFC Opener at Missouri State
Sept. 28, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - No. 24 Illinois State (1-3, 0-1 MVFC) dropped its Missouri Valley Football Conference opener, 37-10, at Missouri State (1-4, 0-1 MVFC) on a soggy afternoon Saturday in Springfield, Mo.
After taking a 10-7 lead with 12:02 to play in the opening half, Illinois State allowed 34 u-answered points to the Bears and committed a season-high five turnovers. The Redbird offense tallied a season-low 214 yards of total offense, including just 46 rush yards on 31 carries.
Blake Winkler made his second career start and finished 14-for-28 for 168 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Jared Barnett entered the game in the fourth quarter and his only play from scrimmage resulted in an interception. Phil Dudley had a team-best four receptions and James O'Shaughnessy led with 36 receiving yards. Defensively, Alex Donnelly led Illinois State with 10 tackles and Tevin Allen registered his first-career interception and recovered a fumble.
Missouri State posted season-highs in total offense (337) and was a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone. Quarterback Kierra Harris went 7-for-17 for 103 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and added 51 rush yards with one score.
Illinois State went 3-and-out to open the game, but a 50-yard punt from CJ Laros pinned Missouri State at their own 15 yard line. On 3rd-and-6, Allen intercepted Harris' pass, putting the Redbirds on the MSU 19-yard line. It marked the first interception for Illinois State this season. Nick Aussieker's 22-yard field goal attempt was blocked, keeping the game scoreless with 9:10 to play in the first quarter.
Missouri State responded with a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Highlighted by a 33-yard run from Cooper-Falls, the Bears later scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Matt Swan, giving the Bears a 7-0 advantage with 4:42 to play in the opening quarter. The Redbirds bounced back with their first scoring drive of the game. Winkler guided the offense on a 74-yard, 14-play drive that was capped by a 22-yard field goal from Aussieker. Aussieker's field goal, which improved him to 3-for-4 on the season, dropped the Redbird deficit to 7-3 with 13:03 to go in the second quarter.
Two plays into MSU's next possession, Illinois State forced its second takeaway of the game. Vernon Scott carried the ball seven yards, before he was stripped from behind by Brandon Westphal. Allen recovered the loose ball and carried it to the MSU four-yard line. Three plays later, Collin Keoshian leaped over the defensive line for a touchdown, giving Illinois State a 10-7 lead. It was Keoshian's fifth touchdown of the season, four of which have come from within three yards.
With five minutes to play in the opening half, Laros launched a career-best 63 yard field goal, pinning Missouri State at their own three-yard line. The Bears picked up two quick first downs, before Harris found Dorian Beauford for a season-best 73-yard touchdown completion, as the Bears led 14-10 going into halftime.
Heavy rain moved into Springfield as play resumed to open the third quarter. After a pair of defensive stops resulted in MSU punts, Illinois State took over on their own two-yard line, trailing 14-10 with 10:06 to play in the third quarter. Winkler fumbled the first snap from scrimmage, ISU's third fumble of the half, and Missouri State recovered. Harris needed one play to scramble in to the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown, giving Missouri State a 21-10 lead with 9:57 to go in the third quarter.
Following ISU's fourth fumble of the second half, Missouri State rallied into the red zone and settled for a field goal. Missouri State added touchdowns with 9:32 and 4:17 to go in the fourth quarter to secure the win before 8,507 fans at Plaster Field.
The Redbirds return home Saturday, Oct. 5, for Homecoming versus Western Illinois. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at the newly-renovated Hancock Stadium.
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.