Illinois State wide reciever Tyrone Walker caught two touchdown passes in a 24-17 loss to Missouri State on Saturday. (WJBC/B Corbin)
By WJBC Staff
NORMAL – Illinois State was outscored 15-3 in the fourth quarter by Missouri State to suffer a 24-17 loss Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Missouri Valley Conference action.
Up 14-12, the Redbirds (6-2, 3-2) surrendered the lead on Ashton Glaser’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:54 remaining. The touchdown plunge concluded a 15-play, 88-yard scoring march that took up 6:31 of the fourth quarter. The Redbirds then had to start their next possession on their 3-yard line after Marshaun Coprich misplayed the kickoff.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Darrelynn Dunn was tackled in the end zone by Missouri State’s Howard Scarborough for the second safety of the game, giving the Bears a 21-14 lead with 2:47 left.
The Redbirds attempted an on-side kick following the safety, which the Bears recovered on ISU’s 30-yard line. Austin Witmer’s 42-yard field goal then gave the Bears a 24-14 advantage with 1:03 left.
Nick Aussieker’s career-long 47-yard field goal brought the Redbirds within, 24-17, with 10 seconds remaining, but the Bears recovered the ensuing on-side kick to seal the victory.
In the second quarter, ISU quarterback Matt Brown became the league’s all-time leading passer in yardage, surpassing Northern Iowa’s Ryan Helming (9,089). Brown finished the game with 204, giving him 9,232. Brown’s two touchdown passes gave him 73 career touchdowns, surpassing Luke Drone (72) for first on the ISU career list.
The Bears got on the board first, marching 79 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. On third down from the ISU 45-yard line, quarterback Kierra Harris found Dorian Buford with a 41-yard completion to the ISU 4-yard line. Harris scored on a 1-yard plunge three plays later to cap the drive.
The Bearstacked on with their first of two safeties to take a 9-0 lead with 7:23 left in the first quarter. On second down from his own 14-yard line, Brown was flushed from the pocket before being hit from behind by Missouri State’s Nate Davis. The hit jarred the ball loose, with it eventually rolling out of the side of the end zone for a safety.
Brown and Dunnand Tyrone Walker keyed an 11-play, 49-yard touchdown drive to get the Redbirds on the board in the second quarter. On third-and-goal from the Bears’ 4-yard line, Brown found Walker on the fade route in the right corner of the end zone to bring the Redbirds within two points, 9-7.
The second half ended on turnovers from each team. The Redbirds looked to gain the lead before halftime after Austin Davis forced a fumble at midfield that was recovered by Tim Dawson. However, Brown threw an interception to kill the threat and send both teams into the break with the score 9-7.
Brown and Walker connected again to give the Redbirds their first lead of the game on a 6-play, 63-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. On third down and two from the MSU 15-yard line, Brown again threw a fade to Walker, this time to the front-left pylon. Brown’s second touchdown gave the Redbirds a 14-9 advantage with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of Missouri State’s next possession, Ben Ericksen recorded his second interception of the game and team-leading fifth of the season after Mike Zimmer tipped a pass. However, Dunn was stuffed by the Bears on a fourth-and-two attempt, giving MSU the ball at its own 35-yard line.
The Bears took advantage, climbing back to within two points at 14-12on a 20-yard field goal by Austin Witmer to cap a 9-play, 62-yard scoring drive. A big chunk of the drive came on Harris’ 46-yard completion to Buford that put the Bears on ISU’s seven. However, the Redbird defense held firm with Colton Underwood tackling Harris for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-goal.
The Redbirds hit the road for their next two contests, playing at Northern Iowa next week and at Indiana State on Nov. 3. Kickoff against the Panthers next week at the UNI Dome is 4 p.m. Redbird Preview starts at 3 p.m. on WJBC AM 1230 and FM 93.7 and the WJBC/Country Financial Illinois State Radio Network.