Illinois State Hits the Road For Crucial Game at No. 16 Youngstown State
The game will be broadcast live on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago Plus at 6 p.m.
Oct. 9, 2013
PLAYER TO WATCH
Sophomore running back Marshaun Coprich had a career day in helping Illinois State to a win over in-state rival Western Illinois last Saturday. The Victorville, Calif., native set career bests with 24 carries, 124 yards and three touchdowns against the Leathernecks. The touchdown runs were the first three of Coprich's career at ISU and the 100-plus rushing performance was the first of his career and the first for a Redbird back this season.
Coming off a 35-21 Homecoming victory over in-state rival Western Illinois, Illinois State (2-3, 1-1 MVFC) will hit the road for a crucial Missouri Valley Football Conference tilt with No. 16/18 ranked Youngstown State (5-1, 2-0) Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Redbirds and the Penguins will meet for the 23rd time on the gridiron Saturday. The two teams have battled to an 11-11 tie in the series, following Illinois State's come-from-behind, 35-28, win last season at Hancock Stadium. ISU has won four of the last six meetings overall, but the Penguins have won seven of 11 games hosted in Youngstown at The Ice Castle.
Illinois State: Brock Spack (Purdue, 1983) is in his fifth season as the head coach at Illinois State (30-21). 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.
Youngstown State: Eric Wolford (Kansas State, 1994) is in his fourth season as the head coach at Youngstown State (21-18). The Penguins won seven games in 2012 for the first time since 2007, while producing their most Division I wins since 2006.
THE PROGRAM IN THE PLAYOFFS
- 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
- Youngstown State University is located in Youngstown, Ohio, and has an enrollment of 13,813 students. The Penguins are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and play their home games at Stambaugh Stadium (20,630).
- The Penguins finished the 2012 season with a 7-4 overall record and a 4-4 mark in MVFC play, after starting the season with a 4-0 record, including a win at Pittsburgh.
- YSU is off to a 5-1 start in 2013 and are nationally ranked by both the FCS Coaches Poll (No. 16) and The Sports Network (No. 18). The Penguins have picked up wins over Dayton and Morehead State in the non-conference portion of their schedule, with the lone loss coming at Michigan State.
- The Youngstown State offense is led by senior quarterback Kurt Hess, who recently became the school's all-time leading passer. With 164 yards passing against the Sycamores last weekend, Hess has thrown for 7,887 yards in his career and his 8,457 yards of total offense also is a new YSU record. Hess needs just 22 completions and 74 attempts to catch Tom Zetts's marks in those categories. Hess already owned school marks with 64 career touchdown passes, 21 200-yard passing games, 202.2 passing yards per game, a passer rating at 142.72 and TDs responsible for with 72.
- The Penguins also had a pair of players recognized by the league as players of the week for their performances in the win against Indiana State.
- Redshirt freshman free safety Jameel Smith was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week after he returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, which tied for the second-longest in school history.
- Martin Ruiz was named the conference's top newcomer after he registered a career-high 141 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns against the Sycamores.
- Defensively, the Penguins are led by junior linebacker Teven Williams. He leads the team with 41 total stops and has added two tackles-for-loss, and two pass breakups.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS VS. YOUNGSTOWN STATE
- Nov. 13, 1993 at Illinois State
In both teams' regular-season finale, Danny Barnett connected with Kevin Glenn on a 71-yard pass with 2:50 left to lead the Redbirds to a victory over the No. 1 Penguins and head coach Jim Tressel. Youngstown State eventually went to run the table in the then I-AA playoffs and win a national championship.
- Oct. 30, 1999 at Youngstown State
ISU secured its first conference championship in school history with a 31-28 victory over YSU. Dusty Burk threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair to Jacob Niete, to move the Redbirds to 7-2 and a perfect 5-0 on in Valley play.
- Oct. 27, 2007 at Youngstown State
Luke Drone passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns, as he led the Redbirds to an upset win over the No. 12 ranked Penguins at the Ice Castle.
- Nov. 6, 2010 at Illinois State
A 40-yard touchdown pass from Matt Brown to Tyrone Walker with 0.6 seconds left on the clock gave the Redbirds a 41-39 victory over the Penguins. Walker finished with 206 yards receiving and Brown threw a career-best five touchdown passes in the game.
- Oct. 13, 2012 at Illinois State
Quarterback Matt Brown's one-yard touchdown run with 2:44 remaining capped a streak of 28 unanswered points for No. 14 Illinois State, as the Redbirds came back from a 28-7 deficit against No. 8 Youngstown State to knock off the Penguins, 35-28, at Hancock Stadium. The 21-point deficit tied the Redbirds' biggest come-from-behind victory of all-time.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET (OCT. 13, 2012)
The Last Meeting
|Youngstown State (CommUniversity)||28
October 13, 2012
Quarterback Matt Brown's one-yard touchdown run with 2:44 remaining capped a streak of 28 unanswered points for No. 14 Illinois State, as the Redbirds came back from a 28-7 deficit against No. 8 Youngstown State to knock off the Penguins, 35-28, at Hancock Stadium. After surrendering touchdowns on the Penguins' first four possessions en route to the 21-point deficit, the Illinois State defense stiffened, holding YSU scoreless over its last eight possessions. The 21-point deficit tied the Redbirds' biggest come-from-behind victory of all-time.
RUNNING GAME GETS RICH
The Illinois State rushing attack needed a spark against Western Illinois (Oct. 5) and it got that from sophomore tailback Marshaun Coprich. The Victorville, Calif., native set career bests with 24 carries, 124 yards and three touchdowns against the Leathernecks. The touchdown runs were the first three of Coprich's career at Illinois State and the 100-plus rushing yard performance was also the first of his career and the first for a Redbird back this season. Coprich averaged 5.2 yards per carry and had touchdown runs of one, six and 24 yards respectively. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for 49 yards, with a long of 25, to finish with 173 all-purpose yards on the day.
STRENGTH UP THE MIDDLE
Junior defensive tackle Bradon Prate was tough for Western Illinois to block in Illinois State's 35-21 victory (Oct. 5). The Wauconda, Ill., native finished with a half sack, two tackles-for-loss and a pass break up against the Leathernecks. Prate was also credited with a pair of quarterback hurries and was instrumental in the Redbirds allowing just 72 yards on the ground and 211 yards of total offense to the Leathernecks.
Illinois State and Western Illinois met for the 95th time on the gridiron in the long rivalry between the two in-state foes on Oct. 5. Western Illinois has a 50-42-3 advantage in the all-time series and long winning streaks for either school have been hard to come by. With ISU's 35-21 victory over WIU, the Redbirds have now won three games in a row in the series, something the Redbirds haven't done against the Leathernecks since winning three straight from 1946-48.
POUND THE ROCK
Illinois State head coach Brock Spack emphasized the importance of pounding the rock and having a strong rushing attack all week heading into the team's game against Western Illinois (Oct. 5). One look at the final stats and it looks like his message was received, as the Redbirds posted a season-high 185 rushing yards on the ground in the win against the Leathernecks. Sophomore running back Marshaun Coprich led the charge and rushed for 124 yards, becoming the first Redbird back to eclipse the century mark in a game this season, and rushed for a career-high three touchdowns.
BOUNCE BACK EFFORT
Redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Winkler bounced back from a disappointing performance in Illinois State's conference opener at Missouri State (Sept. 28) with a career day against Western Illinois (Oct. 5). The Frankfort, Ill., native completed a career-high 20 passes on 29 attempts and threw for a career-best 234 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Redbirds to a 35-21 victory over their in-state rivals. Winkler got the Redbirds on scoreboard first in the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown pass to Chick Chatham and broke a 21-21 tie in the fourth quarter when he found Milton Colbert on a fade route to the corner for 14 yards and his second touchdown of the game.
JUST TWO YEARS AGO ...
The Redbirds were 2-3 to start the 2011 season and rallied to win five of their last six games of the season to finish with a 7-4 record. Had it not been for a double-overtime loss to nationally-ranked UNI in the season finale, the Redbirds would have been one of the hottest teams heading into the FCS playoffs. The 2013 team would like to put a win streak together like that as well, and the team's win over Western Illinois (Oct. 5) to improve its record to 2-3 may have just kicked off another strong finish to a season for ISU.
DEFENSE STIFFENS AGAINST THE LEATHERNECKS
Illinois State had to replace six starters on defense from a year ago, including all three linebackers, with young, talented but inexperienced players. That youth showed a bit early in the season, but the group may have put it together against Western Illinois (Oct. 5). The Redbird defense allowed just 72 yards on the ground and 139 yards through the air for a total of 211 yards of total offense. The Leathernecks were held scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game and had amassed just 36 yards of total offense at halftime.
CONTROLLING THE CLOCK
Thanks to a strong rushing attack and just one turnover, Illinois State was able to dominate the time of possession battle in its 35-21 win over Western Illinois (Oct. 5). The Redbirds doubled up the Leathernecks in time of possession, with 40:13 to just 19:47 for WIU. It marked the highest TOP of the season for the Redbirds, but was over three minutes short of the school record of 43:26 set in 1987 against Maine.
Illinois State alumni flocked back to Bloomington-Normal for Homecoming 2013, to remember their fond times at the University and re-live their college experience. They also watched their beloved Redbirds earn a victory, with a 35-21 defeat over Western Illinois. ISU has recorded a winning 47-41-6 record in Homecoming games all-time. Since 1998, the 'Birds are 11-5 in Homecoming contests and have picked up victories in five of the last seven contests overall.
Former Redbird defensive back Sam Young can be found atop several lists in the ISU record books for his outstanding play during his career at ISU. Young added his name to another prestigious list when he was inducted into the Percy Family Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013. Young was named the NCAA FCS Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-America selection by the Football Gazette in 1999 and led the league that year in passes broken up with 21. He ended his illustrious career at ISU as the all-time leader in passes broken up in a single game (6), single season (21) and career (46), before going on to play professionally in the NFL and CFL.
BANK ON IT
Junior cornerback Mike Banks is playing at the highest level of his career through five games for the Redbirds. Banks ranks fifth on the team with 23 tackles and leads all players in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with eight passes defended on the season. The University Park, Ill., native has broken up seven passes, including a career-best three against Western Illinois (Oct. 5), and intercepted his first pass of the season and fourth of his career against the Leathernecks.
'BIRDS COME HOME
After playing three of its first four games away from home, Illinois State began a stretch of four games in five weeks at home when the Redbirds defeated Western Illinois (Oct. 5). The Redbirds have enjoyed their home nest, posting a 19-6 record at Hancock Stadium in the last five seasons under head coach Brock Spack, including a 31-17 win over Abilene Christian in the 2013 home opener (Sept. 21) and the 35-21 victory over the Leathernecks to move to 2-0 at home this season in the newly-renovated Hancock Stadium.