Redbirds Look to Stay Undefeated at Home Against the Surging Coyotes
Marshaun Coprich
Marshaun Coprich

Oct. 24, 2013

 South Dakota (4-3, 3-1 MVFC) at Illinois State (3-4, 2-2 MVFC)
 Date  Saturday, Oct. 26
 Location
 Normal, Ill.
 Kickoff
 1:00 p.m. CT
 Stadium
 Hancock Stadium
 Stadium Capacity
 13,391
 Radio  WJBC/Country Financial Illinois State Radio Network (Dick Luedke - Play-by-Play | Ted Schmitz - Analyst)
 Watch  RedbirdHD.tv
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Game Notes  Illinois State | South Dakota | Missouri Valley Football Conference

PLAYER TO WATCH
Sophomore running back Marshaun Coprich tallied his third-consecutive 100-plus yard rushing performance in a win last Saturday over Indiana State, becoming the first Redbird to achieve that feat since 2007. The Victorville, Calif., native rushed for a career-high 137 yards on 18 carries and tied a career-best with three touchdowns against the Sycamores. Over the past three games, he's averaged 124 yards per game and scored seven TDs.

THE GAME
Illinois State (3-4, 2-2 MVFC) continues its three-game homestand and will look to stay undefeated at the newly-renovated Hancock Stadium, when it hosts South Dakota (4-3, 3-1 MVFC) as part of Family Weekend at ISU.

THE SERIES
The Redbirds and the Coyotes will meet for just the third time Saturday, with ISU having won both previous contests. The Redbirds earned a 28-3 win over the Coyotes in 2011 in the first meeting between the two teams and held on for a tough 34-31 victory last season at the DakotaDome.

THE COACHES
Illinois State: Brock Spack (Purdue, 1983) is in his fifth season as the head coach at Illinois State (31-22). Spack led the Redbirds to their first playoff victory since 2006, just the third nine-win season in school history and was a finalist for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Award.

South Dakota: Joe Glenn (South Dakota, 1971) is in his second season as the head coach at South Dakota (5-13) and 26th as a collegiate head coach (193-113-1). He previously served as the head coach at Northern Colorado and Montana, where he led his teams to 14-consecutive winning seasons, as well as serving as head coach at Wyoming for six years.

THE #REDBIRDFOOTBALL PROGRAM

  • Four FCS playoff appearances (1998, 1999, 2006, 2012)
  • Three-time FCS quarterfinalists (1999, 2006, 2012)
  • Four-straight winning seasons for the first time since the 1940's
  • The team is 19-6 at home under Spack's guidance.
  • ISU was 6-1 on the road last year, with a perfect 5-0 finish in the regular season.
  • The team set a program-record cumulative GPA in the Spring 2013 semester.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT

  • The University of South Dakota is located in Vermillion, S.D., and has an enrollment of 10,284 students. The Coyotes are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and play their home games at the DakotaDome (10,000).
  • The Coyotes finished the 2012 season with a 1-10 overall record and a 0-8 mark in their first year of MVFC play.
  • USD got off to a rough start in 2013, going 1-3 in its first four games with losses at Kansas and at No. 22 Northern Arizona. However, after starting Valley Football play with a loss at Western Illinois (Sept. 28), the Coyotes have rallied for three straight wins in league play.
  • Last weekend, South Dakota rallied from a 28-7, third-quarter deficit and forced overtime with five seconds left in regulation at 13th-ranked Northern Iowa. The Coyotes would eventtually go on to pick up a 38-31 overtime victory over the Panthers. The win ended an 18-game, road losing streak for the Coyotes dating back to the program's win at Minnesota in 2010.
  • Sophomore quarterback Kevin Earl passed for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (3 pass, 2 rush) in the double-overtime win against No. 13 Northern Iowa, which earned him MVFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
  • He was joined on the weekly list of conference honorees by freshman wide receiver Riley Donovan, who finished with nine catches for a season-high 178 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers to earn MVFC Newcomer of the Week honors.
  • Defensively, the Coyotes are led by senior linebacker Tyler Starr. A 2013 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List selection, Starr leads the team and all players in the MVFC with seven sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss through seven games this season.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS VS. SOUTH DAKOTA

  • Oct. 15, 2011 at Illinois State
    Illinois State linebacker Evan Frierson recorded a team-high eight tackles, four tackles-for-loss and three sacks to lead the Redbird defense that allowed just 108 yards of total offense to No. 14 ranked South Dakota in a 28-3 Homecoming victory over at Hancock Stadium. Redbird quarterback Matt Brown was 16-for-20 for 133 yards with a touchdown and added 30 yards rushing with a score. Ashton Leggett led the ISU ground-attack with 121 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyrone Walker caught four passes for 46 yards and one score.
  • Sept. 29, 2012 at South Dakota
    Nick Aussieker's career-long 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the difference, as No. 12 ranked Illinois State rallied for a 34-31 Missouri Valley Football Conference victory over South Dakota at the DakotaDome. With its fifth-consecutive victory to open the season, Illinois State got off to its best start since 1967. Quarterback Matt Brown finished the game 15-for-31 for 336 yards and one touchdown and added a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the win. Tyrone Walker collected 110 yards on five catches, as Illinois State amassed 489 yards of total offense. Running back Darrelynn Dunn eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the fourth time on the season, finishing with 107 yards and two scores on 26 carries.

The Last Meeting
Illinois State34
South Dakota31
September 29, 2012
Vermillion, S.D.
No. 12 ISU Football Wins 5th Straight, Tops South Dakota 34-31
Nick Aussieker's career-long 42-yard fourth quarter field goal was the difference as No. 12 Illinois State (5-0, 2-0 MVFC) rallied for a 34-31 Missouri Valley Football Conference victory over South Dakota (1-3, 0-1 MVFC) Saturday afternoon at the DakotaDome.



THE LAST TIME THEY MET (SEPT. 29, 2012)

Nick Aussieker's career-long 42-yard fourth-quarter field goal was the difference, as No. 12 Illinois State rallied for a 34-31 Missouri Valley Football Conference victory over South Dakota at the DakotaDome. With its fifth-consecutive victory to open the season, Illinois State was off to its best start since 1967. Senior quarterback Matt Brown finished 15-for-31 for 336 yards and one touchdown and added a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the win. Senior running back Darrelynn Dunn also eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the fourth during the season, finishing with 107 yards and two scores on 26 carries.

THIRD TIME IS A CHARM
Illinois State did not have a running back rush for over 100 yards in the first four games of the season, but Marshaun Coprich has ended that streak with three-consecutive 100-plus yard rushing performances in the last three games for the Redbirds. Coprich rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Western Illinois (Oct. 5) and followed that up with 110 yards and a touchdown against Youngstown State (Oct. 12). Last week against Indiana State (Oct. 19), the Victorville, Calif., native rushed for a career-high 137 yards on 18 carries and tied a career-best with three touchdowns against the Sycamores. With his third-consecutive 100-plus yard performance, Coprich became the first Redbird to achieve that feat since 2007.

HOME SWEET HOME
There is no doubt that the Redbirds are much more comfortable playing in front of their home crowd at the newly-renovated Hancock Stadium. ISU is a perfect 3-0 at home this season and has enjoyed its home nest, posting a 20-6 record at Hancock Stadium in the last five seasons under head coach Brock Spack. In the team's three wins at home this year, ISU is averaging 420 yards of total offense per game and scoring 40 points per game, while allowing opponents just 224 yards on offense and 17 points. Contrast that with the Redbirds' performance in the four road losses, when they average 21 points per game and 340 yards of total offense, compared to giving up an average of 51 points and 525 yards of total offense to opponents.

QUICK STARTERS
With a touchdown on their opening drive of the game against Indiana State (Oct. 19), the Redbirds have scored on their opening possession of the game five times this season. ISU scored touchdowns on its opening drives in the first three games of the season, did not in the ensuing two games, but has in the last two wins at home. The early leads have not always led to wins for the Redbirds, who are 2-3 in games when they score on the opening drive.

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION DOWNS THE TREES
Illinois State scored more points in the first 25 minutes of the game than it had in an entire game all season, as a 38-point first half paved the way for a 55-14 victory over Indiana State (Oct. 19). The Redbirds scored on their first six possessions of the game and did not punt until the closing two minutes of the opening half. ISU racked up a season-high 475 yards of total offense, mounting a balanced attack that featured a season-best 260 yards on the ground and 215 through the air.

PUTTING POINTS ON THE BOARD
Through six games in 2013, the ISU offense had scored 30 points or more just twice, with a season-high of 35 points in a win over Western Illinois (Oct. 5). The Redbirds put an end to those scoring woes with a scoring barrage against Indiana State (Oct. 19). ISU scored a season-high 55 points in a dominating victory over the Sycamores, marking the most the Redbirds have scored since a 56-14 victory against Dayton in the 2012 season opener.

DEFENSIVE TURNAROUND
Just a week after allowing a season-high 59 points and 569 yards of total offense in a loss at Youngstown State (Oct. 12), the Redbird defense held Indiana State (Oct. 19) to a season-low 14 points and 174 yards of total offense in a dominating 41-point victory over the Sycamores. The Redbirds allowed just 69 yards through the air and limited All-American running back Shakir Bell to just nine yards on 12 carries on the day. ISU also tallied seven sacks and forced two turnovers, with a pair of sacks and two fumble recoveries from All-American Colton Underwood.

END ZONE TO END ZONE
During the 1999 season, Aveion Cason returned a pair of kickoffs 100 yards for a touchdown and became the third player in school history to achieve that feat. Against Indiana State (Oct. 19), a fourth player added his name to the 100-yard return list when Josh Burch returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 100 yards for a score against the Sycamores. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native took the opening kickoff of the second half into the end zone and raced 100 yards down the far sideline untouched to record the first kickoff return touchdown for a Redbird player since 2010, when Ben Ericksen returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score against Central Missouri. With the return, Burch is now averaging 29.7 yards per kick return this season, ranking him No. 8 among all returners in FCS football.

BIG PLAY ABILITY
Through seven games this season, Illinois State has recorded 47 plays of over 20 yards or more. The big-play offense showed up in force against Indiana State (Oct. 19), as the Redbirds recorded eight plays of 20-yards or more, including four of the six longest plays of the season. Josh Burch cemented his spot at the top of the list with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Sycamores, and wide receiver Anthony Warrum put his name in the top-six twice with receptions of 62 and 50 yards, respectively. Marshaun Coprich rounded out the big group with his career-high 72-yard touchdown run to cap off an explosive offensive display.

WARRUM SETS FRESHMAN SINGLE-GAME RECEIVING YARDS RECORD
Freshman wide receiver Anthony Warrum set an ISU freshman record and became the first Redbird to record over 100-yards receiving in 2013 and with a career-best effort in the victory over Indiana State (Oct. 19) at Hancock Stadium. The Fishers, Ind., native hauled in three catches for a school-record 145 yards with a touchdown against the Sycamores. Most of those yards came on a pair of passes, a 62-yard completion from Blake Winkler in the first quarter and a 50-yard touchdown strike from Winkler early in the second quarter. Warrum's 145 yards topped the previous record of 135 set by Jon Laurenti in 1999 against Truman State.

73 FOR THE TD
When quarterback Blake Winkler found wide receiver Cameron Meredith for a 73-yard touchdown in the second quarter against Youngstown State (Oct. 12), it marked the longest play of the season for the Redbirds from scrimmage and the longest of each player's career at Illinois State. Winkler topped his previous career-long of 48 yards with the completion, and Meredith doubled his previous long of 38 yards.

SEEING RED
Converting on scoring chances in the red zone is crucial to a team's success, and has proved beneficial for the Redbirds so far in 2013. The Redbirds have converted on 23 of 26 scoring chances in the red zone this season (88 percent), thanks in part to a perfect 6-for-6 effort against Indiana State (Oct. 19). That mark ties the Redbirds for No. 20 in the country in red zone conversions and ranks them second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference behind Youngstown State (94 percent).