Illinois State Redbirds
Missouri Valley Football Conference
Head Coach: Brock Spack
Overall Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Biggest Win: Illinois State's rushing attack racked up 331 yards against fourth-ranked South Dakota and big pass plays lifted the No. 24 ranked Redbirds to a 37-21 victory over the Coyotes on Homecoming in front of 12,113 fans at Hancock Stadium.
Most Frustrating Loss: Southern Illinois sailed past ISU 42-7 in Carbondale. This may be the game that kept the Redbirds from the playoffs.
Quoatable & Notable: “We were a very inconsistent team. We had youth at certain positions that were critical. We were not able to be the offense we're used to being. It's been the last two years really. That's got to change.
"We had a really good defense this year and weren't able to get in the playoffs. We would rush for 300 yards one game and 80 the next. You can't do that."
--Brock Spack in the Bloomington Pantagraph
Returning strengths for 2018: an youthful and inconsistent offensive line will be a year older and wiser; leading rusher James Robinson and explosive runner Markel Smith are back; Brannon Barry and Tyree Horton are solid at linebacker
Emerging Star: defensive end Jason Harris, son of 12-year NFL veteran and former Chicago Bear Al Harris
Giving Thanks: new artificial turf will be put down at Hancock Stadium in the spring
New Year's Wish List: a revitalized offense with the return of Kurt Beathard as coordinator
Biggest Shoes to Fill: DL Dalton Keene & DB Davontae Harris
Tomorrow: Barry Bottino explores Five Burning Questions that face ISU football for 2018.