Illinois State Redbirds
Missouri Valley Football Conference
Head Coach: Brock Spack
Overall Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 3-5
Biggest Win: Illinois State picked up its third win over an FBS opponent since 2012 when the Redbirds flew past Colorado State 35-19 Sept. 22 in Fort Collins, Colo. The triumph left the Redbirds with a 3-0 record heading into their conference schedule.
Most Frustrating Loss: While there are a number of games to choose from, ISU's 28-23 loss at Indiana State on Nov. 10 ended the Redbirds' hopes for a playoff appearance. The fact that Illinois State squandered a 10-point first quarter lead in the loss only added to the the Redbird frustration.
Quoatable & Notable: “It’s fun to win the final game and have a winning season. We were able to send our seniors out the right way and launch our team into the offseason. We want to make sure a year from Sunday we’re getting invited (to the FCS playoffs) and in that celebration up here.”
--ISU head coach Brock Spack after his team's 35-28 win over Youngstown State to close out the season
Returning strengths for 2019: This fall many felt the youthful Redbirds were a year away from a return to glory. That year away becomes the present when ISU kicks off its 2019 season at Northern Illinois. The Redbirds will feature All-American James Robinson, a 1,000-yard rusher behind an experienced offensive line.
Emerging Stars: wide receiver Andrew Edgar (Chicago St. Patrick) & defensive end Romeo McKnight (Crystal Lake Central)
Giving Thanks: For the seemingly out of nowhere performance by senior linebacker Zackary Mathews, who went from zero career tackles to a team-leading 90 this past season.
New Year's Wish List: Consistent on-field performances to match the talent amassed by Redbird recruiting that results in a playoff berth
Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Spencer Schnell & S Mitchell Brees
Next Up: Barry Bottino explores Five Burning Questions that face ISU football for 2019.