Illinois State running back Cameron Hunt will be looking for yardage Saturday when the Redbirds entertain Missouri State at Hancock Stadium. (Photo by B Corbin/You Name It Sports)
By Bryan Bloodworth
NORMAL - Illinois State running back Cameron Hunt believes the Redbirds learned a lot about themselves in last week's thrilling 35-28 victory over No. 8 nationally ranked Youngstown State in Missouri Valley Conference action at Hancock Stadium.
"We were put in a tough situation," said Hunt of the 21-point deficit ISU faced in the second quarter before rallying for the biggest come-from-behind victory in school history. "I feel like to can handle pretty much any thing that's thrown at us. We're pretty strong mentally as a team. It's good to see how much growth we've had."
The No. 11 ranked Redbirds moved their record to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the confererence, good for a share of second place, with the victory.
"We have to move on," said ISU coach Brock Spack regarding Saturday's 1 p.m. league game against Missouri State at Hancock Stadium. The Bears won their first game of the season last week in seven tries and are 1-3 in the MVC.
"They won in a little different fashion," said Spack during his weekly news conference Tuesday. "They scored 17 points in five minutes at the end of the game. That's very impressive. They have been playing very good defensively all year. They have been in every game they've played, including against two FBS teams that are undefeated right now. This will be a very tough game like always."
ISU quarterback Matt Brown, who already holds numerous school and conference records, can add more to his resume Saturday.
The senior needs just 62 yards to become the all-time leader in passing yardage in conference history. He also needs two touchdown completions to pass Luke Drone in career scoring passes at ISU with 72.
"He's going to become the conference's all-time leading passer this weekend," said Spack. "There's only one and he's the one. He played a great game last week and bounced back (from a lackluster performance against Southern Illinois two weeks ago) like I knew he would."
Brown has thrown for 9,028 yards and trails Ryan Helming, who threw for 9,089 yards during his career at Northern Iowa.
Spack said his players deserve the credit for last week's victory.
"It was the players," said Spack. "The players did a great job of executing, getting off blocks, tackling and making plays."
Saturday's game ends a three-game homestand for the Redbirds, who don't return home until the regular-season finale Nov. 17 against North Dakota State.
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at email@example.com