FCS Roundup: Redbirds down Northern Iowa in battle of top 10 teams

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

A battle of two top 10 teams in the Football Championship Subdivision took place in Normal, Ill. on Saturday. Illinois State, ranked No. 4, defeated No. 7 Northern Iowa, 21-13, for the Redbirds third consecutive victory.

Senior running back Marshaun Coprich aided the Redbirds’ flight to victory, and established himself as the university’s best rusher in history. His final total of 169 yards on 33 carries, resulted in him breaking the school’s career rushing record of 3,702 yards. Coprich now has 3,738 yards in his career.

The Redbirds’ offense opened the game with a 12-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard plunge by Coprich. Three straight completions from freshman quarterback Jake Kolbe to freshman wide receiver Bryce Jefferson helped set up the first score of the game.

The scoring did not stop there in the first half.

Coprich and the Redbirds opened the second quarter with another scoring drive, capped off once again by the All-American tailback, to extend the Illinois State lead to 14-0. Northern Iowa’s defense was able to make a stop on the next drive, in the form of an interception.

Senior strong safety Tim Kilfoy picked off Kolbe, as the Redbirds’ quarterback was hit, and he returned it for 27 yards. Junior quarterback Aaron Bailey and the Panthers’ offense capitalized on the change in momentum, by scoring on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Bailey to junior running back Michael Malloy.

The Redbirds’ rushing attack would get back their two-touchdown lead before halftime. On the final drive of the first half, Coprich broke loose for a 61-yard gain, which put Illinois State in the red zone. Junior Jamal Towns, Coprich’s backup, finished the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown.

Following halftime, it was the Redbirds’ defense and critical mistakes by the Panthers that preserved the victory.

Northern Iowa was kept out of the end zone in the second half, but it had its chances. A pair of potential touchdowns were dropped, forcing senior kicker Michael Schmadeke to give the Panthers points. His field goals of 25 and 35 yards resulted in the final score of 21-13.

Sophomore defensive backs Alec Kocour and Davontae Harris led the Illinois State defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.

The game marked the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams. Northern Iowa dropped to No. 10 in Monday’s rankings.

North Dakota State beat South Dakota State 28-7 in the other battle of top 10 teams in the FCS.

Flames light up Georgia State

A balanced offensive attack by FCS member Liberty left the FBS’s Georgia State without answers, as the Flames left Atlanta with a 41-33 victory on Saturday.

Liberty senior quarterback Josh Woodrum continued his solid season, completing 25-of-32 passes for 239 yards, but all the Flames’ touchdowns came on the ground. Red-shirt senior running back Desmond Rice scored three touchdowns for the Flames, and rushed for 87 yards on 22 carries.

Georgia State allowed a total of five rushing touchdowns for the game.

However, they were able to counter the Flames offense with a great passing attack. Senior quarterback Nick Arbuckle completed 18-of-29 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns but threw an interception in the final moments of the game.

Columbia holding workouts on quad

The Columbia football program announced that Friday’s walk-throughs will now be held on a lawn on the school’s Manhattan campus.

Head coach Al Bagnoli thought that the location would be better for the team because it is closer than the training facility. He also wanted the team to have a better connection with the students.

The Lions will host Wagner 5 p.m. Saturday.


Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]