Coach Brock Spack and the Redbirds travel to Eastern Washington Saturday. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
NORMAL - After Illinois State disposed of Appalachian State on Saturday, Redbird players had a clear favorite in the Wagner vs. Eastern Washington game, but it might not be the team you'd expect.
"They were cheering for Eastern Washington to win," coach Brock Spack said Tuesday. "Because they wanted to play on the road. I thought it was strange that they want to play on the road."
A Wagner win could have meant a home game for ISU.
"We just get focused better," said running back Cameron Hunt. "When we leave the city, we're on the bus together, we're forced to be together, we're forced to be focused. When we're in the hotel we're alone. We've got no distractions it's just us."
The Redbirds tied a Missouri Valley Football Conference record with a 6-0 road mark this season, which might also explain the road enthusiasm. That record faces Eastern Washington's unblemished 6-0 record at "The Inferno" at Roos Field.
To snap that home winning streak, the Redbirds will have to conquer a familiar offense.
"It's a West Coast style offense. They use multiple personnel groupings, they can get in spread formations as well as packing it in to run the football with two or three tight ends, so they're very similar to us in that respect," Spack said.
Eastern Washington is anchored by a quarterback tandem in junior Kyle Padron and freshman Vernon Adams. They average 302 passing yards per game and 32 points per contest. Adams is on the ballot for the Jerry Rice Award, which honors the top FCS freshman.
"It's good for our defense I feel like because they've seen it all year in practice," Hunt said. "So it should be no different for them."
The Redbirds and Eagles face off at 5 p.m. with Redbird Preview starting at 4 p.m. Saturday on WJBC AM 1230.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.