Redbirds Stay Perfect at Home, Defeat the Coyotes 28-14
Blake Winkler threw a career-high three touchdown passes in the win over South Dakota.

Blake Winkler threw a career-high three touchdown passes in the win over South Dakota.

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Oct. 26, 2013

NORMAL, Ill. - In front of a new-Hancock Stadium record-crowd of 11,868, Illinois State (4-4, 3-2 MVFC) defeated South Dakota (4-4, 3-2 MVFC) by a score of 28-14 Saturday afternoon, keeping the Redbirds perfect at home while winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Freshman quarterback Blake Winkler completed 9-of-20 pass-attempts for 181 yards, tossing a career-high three touchdowns in the game. Marshaun Coprich recorded his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing performance, finishing with 108 yards on a career-high 34 attempts, while scoring a touchdown. The Redbird defense came up big for the second-consecutive week, forcing three South Dakota turnovers while collecting two sacks and limiting USD to just 14 points.

The first drive of the game for ISU started well, as Winkler converted a 27-yard pass on third down to Cameron Meredith to push the ball to the Coyote 45-yard line. On the next play, Winkler was intercepted by Dyllon Knox on a comeback route intended for Chick Chatham. The Redbird defense responded, however, as they limited South Dakota to a 43-yard field goal attempt which South Dakota kicker Miles Bergner missed wide-left.

Following an exchange of punts, the Redbirds had excellent field position following a 21-yard punt return by Anthony Warrum. On the first play from scrimmage, Winkler found a wide open Corey Shandrick on the left sideline, connecting for a 33-yard touchdown pass, as the Redbirds took the early lead, 7-0. Despite being pinned inside their own 10-yard line, the Coyotes responded with a quick, 91-yard scoring drive. USD quarterback Kevin Earl completed 4-of-5 passes for 52 yards, including a 17-yard scramble, to lead the Coyotes down the field. Jordan Roberts capped off the drive with a 22-yard run for a touchdown, tying the game, 7-7.

At the start of the second quarter, the Redbirds were once again given excellent field-position following a short punt by USD. Needing just three plays, Winkler connected on a third-down touchdown pass to Phil Dudley for 43 yards, putting the Redbirds back on top, 14-7.

Another strong stand by the ISU defense limited USD to three plays for minus four yards, and gave the Redbirds the ball at their own 42-yard line. A 22-yard run by Coprich on third down set up the `Birds at the Coyotes' 35-yard line. After a sack and a three-yard run by Coprich, Winkler connected with Scott Kuehn for a 35-yard touchdown pass, extending ISU's lead, 21-7.

After an exchange of punts to start the third quarter, the Redbird defense delivered another gift for the offense. Matt Goldsmith forced and recovered a fumble by Nick Meyer on a 7-yard completion at the Coyotes' 27-yard line, giving the offense excellent field position. The scoring drive only lasted one play, as Coprich scampered 27 yards to pay dirt to extend the lead to 28-7.

At the end of the third quarter and carrying over into the fourth, USD ended a scoring drought with a five play, 53-yard touchdown-scoring drive that lasted just one minute and 53 seconds. Earl connected on a 31-yard pass to Tyler Wilhelm to move the ball to the ISU 22-yard line. Another long pass by Earl, this time a 17-yard connection to Josh Vander Maten, set up a first-and-goal at the ISU 4-yard line. After a short run, Earl hit Terrance Terry for a two-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Redbird's lead, 28-14.

After an ISU fumble recovered by USD at the Redbird 47-yard line, Bradon Prate came up with a defensive stop for ISU. On fourth down, Prate recorded his first-career interception, nabbing a deflected pass by Earl and returning it 43 yards to the South Dakota 21-yard line.

The Coyotes got the ball back after the Redbirds turned it over on downs with just over two minutes left on the clock. Utilizing the hurry-up offense, Earl completed five of six pass attempts to drive the Coyotes to the ISU 3-yard line. On second down and goal-to-go, Mike Banks came up with his second interception of the season, picking off Earl in the end zone to effectively end the game and secure the victory.

The Redbirds wrap up a three-game home stand next Saturday, when they host UNI in the home finale on Senior Day at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with Kurt Pegler and Boomer Grigsby on the call.

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