The Illinois State University Redbirds football team will travel to South Dakota to take on South Dakota State University 2 p.m. Saturday. Here are five things you need to know entering Saturday's contest:
This is just the 10th time the two teams have ever met, with a very close series advantage for the Jackrabbits at 5-4. This matchup has been very close in the past, with SDSU winning the last two games. Last season, the Jackrabbits traveled to Hancock Stadium and defeated the ’Birds 38-28 who were behind 21 points in the second quarter. SDSU limited ISU running back James Robinson to 13 yards rushing on 10 attempts in the contest.
For the second week in a row, the Redbirds will battle a ranked team as the Jackrabbits currently hold the No. 4 ranking in the STATS FCS poll and have been slotted as high as third in the poll this season. Last week, ISU battled No. 9 Northern Iowa, dropping a 27-10 home decision. The Redbirds are currently ranked No. 11 in the poll.
This game boasts the top two rushing leaders in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in Pierre Strong and James Robinson. Strong reclaimed the top spot after Robinson managed just 39 yards rushing last week and has compiled 975 yards on 128 attempts (7.5 average) and has scored seven touchdowns. Robinson, on the other hand, has mustered 963 yards on 187 carries (5.1 average) and leads the MVFC with 14 rushing touchdowns.
Both squads boast veteran coaches, with ISU's Brock Spack in his 11th season at the helm of the Redbirds and SDSU's John Stiegelmeier in his 23rd season at his alma mater. Spack has compiled an 80-48 record while at ISU, which is good for second all-time in ISU history, while Stiegelmeier has gone 165-102 and has led the Jackrabbits to winning season in 18 of the 22 years he has been head coach.
How to follow
The game, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in Brookings, South Dakota, will be available to watch live on ESPN+ to paid subscribers. Fans can also listen live on WJBC AM 1230/93.7 FM or follow along online at goredbirds.com. Sports Editors Blaine Lewallen and Jake Sermersheim will be live tweeting the game from @Vidette_Sports on Twitter. Live tweets can also be found on ISU football’s Twitter page, @RedbirdFB, throughout the game.