Illinois State University football bounced back with a 21-7 win over Southern Illinois University. Now the Redbirds turn their attention to the 0-6 Western Illinois Leathernecks. Here are five things to know ahead of the Redbirds road matchup in Macomb: 

Rivalry 

The Leathernecks lead the all-time series with the Redbirds at 51-47-3 dating back to 1904. But the series has shifted lately as the Redbirds have won the last eight matchups with a record of 9-2 since Brock Spack took over as head coach. The last time the two teams met the Redbirds came out on top winning 33-16. 

Sack attack 

Through six games this season the Redbird defense leads the FCS in total sacks with 30 on the season. The 30 sacks pace the Missouri Valley Conference with the next closest being Youngstown State with 18. Twice this season the Redbirds have racked up nine sacks, the first time coming at Eastern before last week’s performance against Southern Illinois. At least 12 Redbirds have one sack on the season and Romeo McKnight’s eight sacks lead the MVC. 

Robinson rushes up the record book 

A 150-yard performance last week against the Salukis moved senior running back James Robinson (3,221) into No. 3 all-time passing Willie Watts (3,210). With six games left in the season, Robinson likely will continue moving up the leader board as he just needs 481 yards to move into second all-time past Toby Davis. Robinson also ranks second in the ISU record book in yards per carry (5.72) and third in rushing touchdowns (35). 

Freshman stepping up 

When a pair of receivers went down for the Redbirds following a Week 4 matchup with the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, it was apparent that the Redbirds would need someone to step up. Since then, freshman slot receiver Kacper Rutktkiewicz has stepped up leading the team with 324 receiving yards. His 24.9 yards per catch rank third in FCS football. Despite not having found the end zone yet, he should find himself on the Jerry Rice Award watch list. 

How to follow 

The game, which begins at 1 p.m. Oct. 19in Macomb, 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. 

JAKE SERMERSHEIM is a Sports Editor for The Vidette. He can be contacted at vidette_jrserme@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @JakeSermersheim


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