Redbirds' impressive start catching legendary attention

Redbirds' impressive start catching legendary attention
Brady Davis and the ISU Redbirds enter their Missouri Valley Football Conference schedule Saturday. (photo courtesy of GoRedbirds.com)

While Illinois State caught the nation's attention with its convincing 35-19 win at FBS member Colorado State last Saturday, Redbird quarterback Brady Davis was equally thrilled about the attention he received from a pair of ISU legends.

"I like @BradyDavis10 gunslinger," tweeted Tre Roberson, who led Illinois State all the way to the national championship game four seasons ago.

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Davis responded, "Means a lot coming from the . . . " followed by an emjoi of a goat, meaning "greatest of all-time."

Former ISU quarterback Kevin Glenn jumped aboard with "@tre_roberson I like the young boy too, does that make me the [emjoi] old goat . . . keep doing your thing Brady."

Both Glenn and Roberson play in the Canadian Football League. Glenn, who led Illinois State to national prominence in the late 1990s, has passed for nearly 53,000 yards in his 17-year CFL career. The 39-year-old Detroit native is with the Edmonton Eskimos (the only player in history to have had his rights held by every CFL team).

Roberson, an Indianapolis native who started his career at Indiana University, is in his rookie season with the Calgary Stampeders. Roberson has made the successful switch from quarterback to defensive back. Larry Highbaugh, Roberson's grandfather who died in 2017, is enshrined in the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.

Davis--a Mississippi native who transferred to ISU from the University of Memphis--wears No. 4, the same digit worn by fellow Mississippian Brett Favre (aka "Gunslinger").

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Davis was recruited to Memphis when the Tigers were under head coach Justin Fuente, a former ISU offensive coordinator who is now head coach at Virginia Tech.

Davis has provided stability to the revamped Redbird offense that is averaging 43 points a game and has translated into a 3-0 record and a Top 10 national ranking.

Coupled with a solid running game, Davis has averaged 237 passing yards per game this season. He has thrown for seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Davis has also run for a touchdown.

Three key matchups

  1. Illinois State's balance vs. Missouri State defense:  The Redbirds' strength has been offensive balance. While ISU has turned the ball over just once this year, Missouri State has scored 30 points off turnovers. In the their recent 40-8 romp over No. 20 Northern Arizona, the Bears pounced on three fumbles and grabbed three interceptions.
  2. Illinois State secondary vs. Peyton Huslig:  Despite the upset of Northern Arizona, Missouri State quarterback Peyton Huslig threw four interceptions. If ISU gets even half that total, the Redbirds are in good shape.
  3. Huge win hangover:  Fresh off its exhilarating win at Colorado State, Illinois State must avoid being flat for Missouri State. In recent years, the Redbirds have suffered letdowns despite being a consistent playoff contender. 

Game details

Ninth-ranked Illinois State (3-0) travels to Missouri State (2-1) for its first Missouri Valley Football Conference game. Game will air live on WJBC radio as well as ESPN+. Kickoff is 2 p.m.

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