Illinois State at Indiana State
When: Saturday, November 10th, 1:00 PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium, Terre Haute, Ind.
TV/Streaming: ESPN3 / WatchESPN
Illinois State Redbirds (5-4, 2-4 MVFC)
Illinois State has gone from a potential seed in the upcoming FCS playoffs to potentially missing out on the postseason altogether in losing its last three contests.
Two of the three losses have come at the hands of Top 10 ranked teams of North Dakota State and South Dakota State. The third, and most recent, was at Northern Iowa, another Missouri Valley Football Conference foe fighting for the playoffs.
In its three straight losses, Illinois State has been woeful on third down.
ISU is a combined 11-for-38 during its losing string. In last week’s loss at UNI, the Redbirds were just 1-for-11 on third down. Those numbers will have to change if Illinois State to win its last two games (this one against Indiana State and the regular season finale against Youngstown State).
Key Player: QB Brady Davis sat out last week’s loss at UNI while healing from an injury to his throwing shoulder. In his place, senior Jake Kolbe started against UNI. Kolbe, who was the ISU starter the past two seasons, finished the Northern Iowa game 21-of-27 for 180 yards. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. Davis has the ability to run and will need to have a better performance if the Redbirds will win this game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: RB James Robinson looked like a 1,000 yard rusher until the last two games. In the loss that started the Redbird losing streak, he had 128 yards rushing against the stout NDSU defense. Look for him to bounce back in this game and get over the 100 yard mark.
Indiana State Sycamores ((5-4, 3-3 MVFC)
A year after going without a win, Indiana State has won three straight games to be right in the mix of the FCS playoff race.
The Sycamores were picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll. Instead, second-year head coach Curt Mallory’s team have knocked off Southern Illinois, Youngstown State and South Dakota in succession.
And Indiana State could have been even better. Indiana State took South Dakota State to overtime before falling 54-51 in an early October road game.
Key Player: QB Ryan Boyle is coming off a record-setting seven-touchdown performance in a 51-48 triple overtime win against South Dakota. Boyle accounted for 380 yards of total offense, including a career-best 187 rushing. He will be the key factor for a Sycamore win in this game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: WR Dante Hendrix leads the team with 634 receiving yards on 44 receptions. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards last week versus South Dakota. Look for him and Boyle to hook-up in this game and maybe not as good of numbers as last week but still could get close to the 100-yard mark.
Fearless Prediction: In a game where the two teams are going the opposite direction, home field tends to help one team. But Indiana State does not have the great support so that probably won’t be a factor in this one. The key likely will be which team can get off to a fast start. Illinois State in its wins has played from ahead and in the losses, fell behind early and became one dimensional. Illinois Sate, I believe, is the better team but how the prepare for this one will be key coming out of three straight losses. I think the Redbirds will be able to overcome the recent defeats and stay in contention in the playoff race but likely will be a game that comes down to the final minutes. Illinois State 27 Indiana State 24