Northwestern Runs Past Illinois State, 37-3
Sept. 11, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Illinois State football team fell, 37-3, to in-state rival and Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe Northwestern Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern jumped ahead of Illinois State mid-way through the first quarter, after quarterback Dan Persa connected with superback Drake Dunsmore for a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead and the extra point made it 7-0 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
On the next possession for the Redbirds, the team quickly moved down the field on a 33-yard rushing gain by Ashton Leggett into Northwestern territory, but the Redbirds had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Steven Fetzer to cut the Northwestern lead to 7-3.
Northwestern continued to push its way down the field, as Persa connected with Rashad Lawrence for a 50-yard pass play putting the ball on ISU's two-yard line. Persa scored on a quarterback keeper putting six more points on the board for Northwestern, 13-3. Stefan Demos successfully got the point-after-touchdown making it a 14-3 game at the end of the first quarter.
The Wildcats continued to find ways to put points on the board, as they scored within the first four minutes of the second quarter on a 39-yard field goal by Demos, making the score 17-3. Northwestern nearly had another touchdown in the previous play, but Lawrence dropped a pass from Persa in the back of the endzone.
In the second quarter, Matt Brown was hurried by Quentin Williams, which led to an interception by Quentin Davie, who returned it to the ISU 40-yard line. The interception was Brown's first in six games with the last one coming on October 10, 2009, at Southern Illinois. After the interception, Persa found Jeremy Ebert for a 45-yard pass to the ISU four-yard line. Arby Fields rushed for another Northwestern touchdown followed by an extra point from Demos to make the score 24-3.
Still in the second quarter, Brown was looking for Tyrone Walker when Davie intercepted his second pass of the day and returned it 46 yards to Illinois State's 22-yard line. Persa found Dunsmore for a five-yard touchdown pass two plays later to give the Wildcats a 30-3 lead with 10 seconds left in the first half. ISU took a knee to send the game into halftime with Northwestern leading, 30-3.
The Redbirds kicked off to Northwestern to start the third quarter. In the Wildcats' second possession, Nick Broome forced a fumble that was recovered by Austin Davis, who brought the ball to Northwestern's 17-yard line. However, Northwestern forced another Redbird turnover, as Drew Kiel's pass was intercepted by Corbin Bryant, who returned the ball 17 yards to Northwestern's own 46-yard line.
With the ball on ISU's 27-yard line and facing a fourth down situation, Northwestern decided to attempt a field goal. Demos missed the field goal attempt wide right with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter. Illinois State and Northwestern each had one more possession before the quarter ended, but neither team could put points on the board making it a 30-3 game heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, with 4:31 remaining in the game, Mike Trumpy scored on a three-yard rush for Northwestern followed by an extra point giving the Wildcats a 37-3 lead. Northwestern gained prime field position after forcing another Redbird turnover in ISU's own territory.
With his 138 yards passing in today's game, Brown moved into sole possession of 10th place on the school's career passing yards list with 2,805, passing Brian Chaney (2,758) and Lester Anderson (2,760).
On the defensive side of the ball, Josh Howe's 14 tackles set a new career high for the junior linebacker. Howe's previous career record was 13 tackles, which he set November 14, 2009 at Youngstown State. Austin Davis and Mike Zimmer each recorded11 tackles to tie career highs. Davis also tallied two TFL's, which ties another career high for the Redbird sophomore.
Illinois State will take a 1-1 record into next Saturday's contest at South Dakota State, while the Wildcats will improve to 2-0 on the campaign. Kickoff between the Redbirds and Jackrabbits is scheduled for 6 p.m., at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.
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