What seemed like a one-sided game on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon on Nov. 12, the Illinois State Redbird football team took the victory versus the Missouri State Bears on ISU’s annual Senior Day game.
The Redbirds blanked the Bears 37-0. Jamal Towns led the team in rushing in his last regular season game of his collegiate career with 145 yards and a touchdown that occurred off a 50 yard rushing play up the gut from the left hash leading towards the sideline.
After the game, Jamal Towns said “I think I’ve been being more effective by getting more opportunities.” Jamal also mentioned “Its real emotional because these four years have been fast and I don’t want it to be my last game.”
Senior Day was a complete success for the Redbirds as they dominated he Missouri State Bears on both sides of the ball. Redbirds went on a scoring run in the second quarter with 17 points scored and never looked back. Kolbe and Warrum’s chemistry was apparent throughout the game as they hooked up 8 times for consistent passing plays down field totaling 133 yards, including the long 38 yard wide open pitch and catch for a touch down in the second quarter to cap off a 94 yard drive. Warrum also topped off his Senior Day game by tying for 2nd all time in program history with 29 receiving touchdowns.
The Redbirds’ defense was a great compliment to the Redbirrds’ offense. Thanks to the Redbirds’ stout defense the Missouri State Bears could not get into any type of rhythm offensively. MSU was only able to move the football into Redbird territory three times during the entire game. The Redbirds capitalized off of the MSU Bears’ inability to move the football by receiving favorable field position for most of the game and scoring 10 points off of two costly turnovers committed by the Bears. The Redbird offense rolled past the MSU Bears’ defense with ease as the MSU defense had to stay on the field for a majority of the game.
During the second quarter, the Redbirds began to apply pressure. Kolbe got hot in the start of the second quarter when he completed a very tough pass to Christian Gibbs in the corner of the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown by snagging the ball from the defender who initially had his hands on the ball before Gibbs. Gibbs was able to steal the ball against the defender in mid air and also establish possession in the end zone, resulting in a touchdown called by the referees. After the call, the play was reviewed but the call stood. After the extra point, the Redbirds got their first double-digit lead of the game as the team gained a cushion and the offense gained confidence.
Also in the second quarter, the Redbird defense seemed as if they would not even give the Bears an inch as Keene the junior defensive lineman came up with a miraculous diving interception deep in redbird territory. Brodie Lambert attempted to make a pass as he was hit while the ball wobbled in the air for about 4 yards from scrimmage before Dalton Keene could get underneath the bad pass.
Coach Spack said after the game “I’m real proud of our team, and what they were able to do was very difficult this regular season … You don’t do what these kids just did, win three in a row, put themselves in position now to be talked about come to post season when it looked like we were in a tail spin.”
With an ISU win 37-0, the Redbirds win three straight to finish the season earning a winning record of 6-5. The Redbirds’ regular season is over but the team will continue to practice throughout the week as the team has playoff hopes with a few strong wins on their resume.