No. 11 Redbirds Fall To Missouri State, 24-17
Matt Brown
Matt Brown

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Oct. 20, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State football team (6-2, 3-2 MVFC) was outscored 15-3 in the fourth quarter by Missouri State (2-6, 2-3 MVFC), as a 14-9 lead turned into a 24-17 defeat, Saturday afternoon, at Hancock Stadium.

Up 14-12, the Redbirds surrendered the lead on Ashton Glaser's two-yard touchdown run with 2:54 remaining in the contest. The touchdown plunge concluded a 15-play, 88-yard scoring march that took up 6:31 of the fourth quarter. The Redbirds then had to start their next possession on their own three-yard line, after Marshaun Coprich misplayed the kickoff.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Darrelynn Dunn was tackled in the end zone by Missouri State's Howard Scarborough for the second safety of the game, giving the Bears a 21-14 lead with 2:47 left. The Redbirds attempted an onside kick following the safety, which the Bears recovered on ISU's 30-yard line. Austin Witmer's 42-yard field goal then gave the Bears a 24-14 advantage with 1:03 left.

Nick Aussieker's career-long 47-yard field goal brought the Redbirds within one score at 24-17 with 10 seconds remaining, but the Bears recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory.

In the second quarter, ISU starting quarterback Matt Brown became the Missouri Valley Football Conference's all-time leading yards passer, surpassing Northern Iowa's Ryan Helming (9,089). He finished the game with 204, giving him 9,232 in his career. Brown's two touchdown passes gave him 73 total touchdowns responsible for in his career, surpassing Luke Drone (72) for first on that list as well.

The Bears got on the board first, marching 79 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. On third down from the ISU 45-yard line, quarterback Kierra Harris found Dorian Buford with a 41-yard completion down to the ISU four-yard line. Harris scored on a one-yard plunge three plays later to cap the drive. The Bears then tacked on with their first of two safeties to take a 9-0 lead with 7:23 left in the first quarter. On second down from his own 14-yard line, Matt Brown was flushed from the pocket before being hit from behind by Missouri State's Nate Davis. The hit jarred the ball loose, with it eventually rolling out of the side of the end zone for a safety.

Brown, Dunn and Tyrone Walker keyed an 11-play, 49-yard touchdown drive to get the Redbirds on the board in the second quarter. On third-and-goal from the Bears' four-yard line, Brown found Walker on the fade route in the right corner of the end zone to bring the Redbirds within two points at 9-7.

The second half ended on turnovers from each team. The Redbirds looked to gain the lead before halftime after Austin Davis forced a fumble at midfield that was recovered by Tim Dawson. However, Brown threw an interception to kill the threat and send both teams into the break with the score 9-7.

Brown and Walker connected again to give the Redbirds their first lead of the game on a six-play, 63-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. On third down and two from the MSU 15-yard line, Brown again threw a fade to Walker, this time to the front-left pylon. Brown's second touchdown throw of the game gave the Redbirds a 14-9 advantage with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

On the first play of Missouri State's next possession, Ben Ericksen recorded his second interception of the game and team-leading fifth of the season, after Mike Zimmer tipped a pass. However, Dunn was stuffed by the Bears on a fourth-and-two attempt, giving MSU the ball at their own 35-yard line.

The Bears took advantage, climbing back to within two points at 14-12 on a 20-yard field goal by Austin Witmer to cap a nine-play, 62-yard scoring drive. A big chunk of the drive came on Harris' 46-yard completion to Buford that put the Bears on ISU's seven yard line. However, the Redbird defense held firm, with Colton Underwood tackling Harris for a one-yard loss on third-and-goal.

The Redbirds will hit the road for their next two contests, playing next week, Oct. 27, at Northern Iowa before playing at Indiana State on Nov. 3. Kickoff against the Panthers next week is set for 4 p.m., at the UNI Dome.

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