On a night when wind gusts of more than 20 miles per hour blew through central Illinois, the Illinois State football team ripped through Eastern Illinois with a fierce offense in a 48-10 victory in the 107th Mid-America Classic.
Ten of the Redbirds’ 61 plays on the night went for 20 yards or more, including touchdown passes of 97, 42 and 33 yards from junior Brady Davis in an explosive first half, which put the game away early.
“Everything was just clicking in all facets of the game,” said Davis, making his second career start after transferring from Memphis this off-season. “I can’t say enough about the offensive line. I’ve yet to be pressured in any passing situation, and that allows what happened tonight to happen.”
Davis was 17-for-23 passing for 317 yards passing and four touchdowns. Three of those scores, including a 97-yard strike off play-action to senior wide receiver Spencer Schnell, came in a 21-point second quarter. Schnell finished with eight catches for 174 yards and two scores.
The running game also pitched in for 19th-ranked ISU (2-0) with 254 yards on the ground, highlighted by junior James Robinson’s 153 yards on a mere 15 carries.
“We had a lot of explosive plays,” ISU head coach Brock Spack said. “We haven’t seen that here in a couple of years.”
While Eastern’s defense struggled, the Panthers’ new Air Raid offense fell flat as EIU started 0-2.
The EIU quarterback duo of juniors Harry Woodbery and Johnathan Brantley averaged 7.3 yards per completion, nearly 11 yards per play less than Davis. Only four EIU completions went for longer than 10 yards.
“Both sides of the ball we just got physically whipped up front,” EIU head coach Kim Dameron said. “It’s obvious. We couldn’t run it, they could. They got pressure on our quarterback and we didn’t really get pressure on their guy.”
5 Stats That Stood Out
8 – Team-high tackles for ISU senior linebacker Zackary Matthews, who had 0 tackles last season.
13 – Game high tackles for EIU linebacker Joe Caputo.
16.4 – Percentage of ISU’s 61 total plays that went for 20 yards or more.
96 – Team-high rushing yards for EIU running back/Last Chance U alum Jamal Scott, who scored his first touchdown
71, 1,171 – After two games, ISU senior WR Spencer Schnell is on pace for a career year of 71 catches for 1,171 yards.
Illinois State is off this week before a Sept. 22 trip to Colorado State. Eastern faces another Missouri Valley Football Conference team when it hosts Indiana State Sept. 15.