Kutch Kicks Six FG's, Redbirds Fly Past Leathernecks, 25-7
Cliffton Gordon
Cliffton Gordon

Nov. 7, 2009

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NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State kicker Zach Kutch set a new career, school, and Missouri Valley Football Conference record by kicking six field goals in the Redbird's 25-7 win over Western Illinois on Saturday. Cliffton Gordon scored the `Birds only touchdown of the day on his way to rushing for 124 yards.

Kutch connected on four field goals from over 40 yards, including a career-long tying 48 yards. Kutch, who matched his jersey number with the six makes, could have had another but WIU's Patrick Stoudamire blocked an attempt in the first half. It was the second consecutive game Gordon has eclipsed the century mark. Illinois State's Eyad Salem went over 100 yards receiving with eight grabs for 127 yards.

The Redbird defense set the tone early, standing up the Leathernecks on their first drive when they attempted to convert a fourth and one from Illinois State's 43-yard line. Western Illinois' offense was held to just four first downs and 84 total yards in the first half. Xzavier Stewart was able to wrap up quarterback Will Lunt for his second sack of the season and linebackers Josh Howe and Jake Detmers combined to bring down Lunt again in the second quarter.

After a scoreless first quarter, Illinois State wide receiver Eyad Salem caught a 41-yard pass from Brown to set up a one-yard touchdown run from Gordon. It was his sixth touchdown of the season and capped an eight play, 75-yard drive for the Redbirds.

The offense continued to move the ball on the ensuing drive, including an 18-yard halfback option pass by Seth Hood to Matt Brown. Kutch completed the drive with a 32-yard field goal, to make the score 10-0, Illinois State. The Leathernecks' Stoudamire was able to block Kutch's next field goal attempt to deny the `Birds three more points.

On the Redbird's final drive of the half, Brown completed a 31-yard pass to Tyrone Walker and Kutch kicked a 48-yard field goal to match his career-best.

Illinois State's defense continued to dictate the game in the second half when Doni Phelps recovered a fumble on the second play. That set up Kutch's third field goal of the game to make the score 16-0, Redbirds.

Kutch continued to put up points for Illinois State, kicking his fourth and fifth field goals of the game on the next two drives to put Illinois State up, 22-0. With the field goals, Kutch bested his personal record and the school's record for single-game field goals in a game with five, and tied the Missouri Valley Football Conference record.

Western Illinois struck with 2:41 left in the third quarter on a six yard pass from Lunt to Lito Senatus. The touchdown capped a seven play, 80-yard drive for the Leathernecks to make it a 22-7 contest.

The Redbird's answered with Kutch's sixth field goal to set a new MVFC record and make the score 25-7.

On WIU's following drive, cornerback Chris Garrett picked off a deep pass from Lunt to grab his third interception of the season. The Illinois State defense continued to stifle the Leathernecks with another interception by E.J. Jones and tallied six sacks in the game. Illinois State held the Leathernecks to just 104 total yards in the second half.

The Redbirds have two games remaining in the 2009 season and continue Missouri Valley Football Conference play against Youngstown State in Youngstown, Ohio at noon.

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