For the fifth time in six weeks, the Illinois State football team came up on the losing end. In a matchup at South Dakota, the ’Birds were defeated by the Coyotes, 27-24 for the first time in three tries at the DakotaDome. ISU has dropped to 1-4 in MVFC play. The Redbirds were undefeated (5-0) in the all-time series versus the Coyotes.
Although South Dakota outscored the ’Birds. ISU outgained the home team in total offensive yards, 474-370. Redshirt freshman DeMarco Corbin notching his first career 100-yard rushing performance was a lone bright spot for ISU. Corbin finished with 108 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
Illinois State took an early lead in the first quarter after James Robinson capped off a 17-yard run with a touchdown. Not even two minutes later, the Coyotes answered with a rushing touchdown of their own. Michael Fredrick scurried in from four yards out to put South Dakota ahead, 9-7. Kicker Miles Bergner added the extra point to extend the lead to three.
Before ISU could catch a breath, South Dakota rattled off two more consecutive touchdowns. However, a 44-yard Sean Slattery field goal and Corbin score cut the lead to 24-17.
No scores were recorded in the third quarter until the Coyotes’ Bergner nailed a 39-yard field goal. With under eight minutes remaining in the fourth, the Redbirds found the end zone for the third time Saturday afternoon. Jake Kolbe launched a 42-yard pass to Christian Gibbs to cap off an eight-play, 72-yard drive.
A key play during the drive was a fake punt by Reece Attard, who ran the ball through the middle for 15 yards.
Kolbe finished the game with 22 completions for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Kolbe has thrown a pick in five out of the eight games in 2016.
For the majority of the game, the Redbirds were unable to convert on third down (3-for-14). Penalties were also an issue, as ISU compiled 70 yards off seven flags.
Illinois State has not lost five games in a season since 2013 (5-6). ISU’s four MVFC losses is the most in three seasons.
Saturday, ISU plays host to No. 7 South Dakota State at Hancock Stadium. The Redbirds and Jackrabbits are tied in the all-time series, 3-3. ISU was edged on the road last season, 25-20. The home team has won the last three games. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m.