Redbirds Fall 51-35 to Eastern Washington in FCS Quarterfinals
Dec. 8, 2012
CHENEY, Wash. - No. 15 Illinois State (9-4) tallied 520 yards of total offense, but could not erase a 21-point second half deficit, falling to second-seed Eastern Washington (11-2), 51-35, in the FCS quarterfinals in front of a sellout crowd at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. Illinois State closes the 2012 season with a 9-4 record and a 6-1 mark away from Hancock Stadium.
Trailing 38-17 with 11:01 to go in the third quarter, the Redbirds rallied for 18 points to cut the deficit to three, 38-35, but Kyle Padron's 76-yard touchdown pass to All-American receiver Brandon Kaufman stifled ISU's second-half rally and sealed the win for the Eagles.
Senior Matt Brown threw for 372 yards on 27-of-48 passing, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while leading an Illinois State offense that tallied 520 yards of total offense. Tyrone Walker added nine catches for 148 yards with one touchdown and Lechein Neblett had six catches for 101 yards with one score. Tailback Darrelynn Dunn led the ground attack with 24 carries for 98 yards with one score. Mike Zimmer led the defense with nine tackles and Shelby Harris registered two sacks and three tackles-for-loss. Dominic Clarke forced a fumble and added his second interception of the year.
Eastern Washington led 24-17 at halftime and added two quick third-quarter scores, as Pardon connected with Kaufman on 47 and 17-yard touchdown passes to open the half. Padron finished with 358 passing yards on 19-of-33 passing with six touchdowns and one interception. Kaufman earned 191 receiving yards on nine receptions with three scores.
With the Eagles leading 38-17, Clarke forced a Padron fumble, setting up a Nick Aissieker 26-yard field goal to make it 38-20 Eastern Washington. The Redbirds then rallied around a pair of three-and-outs, with Brown finding Neblett for a 22-yard touchdown and then rushing for a 13-yard score to make it 38-35 Eastern Washington with 13:55 to play. Padron then went to the air for the 76 yard touchdown pass to Kaufman to make it 44-35. The Eagles added a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Clark to cap the scoring at 51-35.
Both teams exchanged scores in a fast-paced opening half, that saw points scored on the first six possessions of the game. Aussieker's 23-yard field goal gave ISU an early 3-0 lead, but Padron responded with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Johnson to give the Eagles a 7-3 advantage. Brown them completed a 40-yard strike to Walker for a 10-7 ISU advantage, before Jimmy Pavel's 20-yard field goal with 2:57 to play in the first quarter squared the game at 10-10.
Josh Birch's 72-yard kickoff return gave ISU field position deep in EWU territory. On third-and-goal from the three, Dunn carried the ball into the end zone for his 13th touchdown of the year, giving ISU at 17-10 lead with 14:29 to play in the opening half. Eastern Washington responded with a four-play, 21-yard drive capped by a Demitrius Bronson one-yard touchdown run to even the game at 17-17 in the second quarter.
The Eagles took advantage of a costly Illinois State turnover to score a touchdown in the closing seconds of the opening half. On third-and-long, Brown completed a pass to James O'Shaughnessy, who carried the ball into the Eastern Washington red zone, before fumbling the ball to the Eagles. Padron facilitated a 12-play, 79-yard drive, capped by a one yard pass to Zack Gehring to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead going into the break.
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.