Archive for March 2021

'Brutal decision' to opt out stings for ISU's Spack, disappoints Valley coaches

ISU head coach Brock Spack and his program announced Sunday night that they were opting out of the spring season. (photo courtesy of ISU Athletics) Brock Spack is a football coach, not a mathematician. But the way his team’s roster numbers looked over the past few weeks, continuing to play football this spring didn’t add... Read more »

Salukis fall five spots to No. 10 in latest Stats Perform poll

Neuqua Valley High School graduate Mark Gronowski (11) and South Dakota State romped over Southern Illinois Saturday and sent both teams in opposite directions in the national polls. (photo courtesy South Dakota State Athletics) Southern Illinois fell five spots in this week’s Stats Perform FCS Top 25 following a 44-3 home loss to South Dakota... Read more »

Illinois State opts out of remainder of spring season

Illinois State head coach Brock Spack and the Redbirds are opting out of the remainder of the spring 2021 season, the university announced Sunday night in a news release posted online. (photo by Barry Bottino, Prairie State Pigskin) One day after Illinois State’s football team won the first game of its spring FCS season, the... Read more »

3 things we learned: Freshmen lead Eastern Illinois to victory

Eastern Illinois players celebrate a 28-20 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Tennessee Tech Sunday at O’Brien Field in Charleston. (photo courtesy of Eastern Illinois has taken its lumps fielding a youth-oriented team. Yet, Sunday it was those same young players that sparked the Panthers to their first win of the spring. A week after... Read more »

Former offensive line coaches put their building blocks to the test in OVC

A former offensive line coach at Northwestern, Adam Cushing is in his second season as Eastern Illinois head coach. (photo courtesy of Sandy King, EIU Athletics) Adam Cushing and Dewayne Alexander are both former offensive line coaches, so they share a few traits. “I think offensive line coaches, by nature, have to be disciplined people,”... Read more »

3 things we learned: Salukis outraced by Jackrabbits on the ground

SIU sophomore running back Justin Strong (5) and the Salukis rushed for a season-low 121 yards in a 44-3 loss to South Dakota State. (Photo by While zooming up the national rankings this spring to No. 5, Southern Illinois leaned on a three-pronged running attack. On Saturday in Carbondale, South Dakota State turned the... Read more »

3 things we learned: Western offense sputters in loss at ISU

Western Illinois wide receiver Tony Tate gets tackled Saturday by a pair of Illinois State defenders in the Leathernecks’ 26-18 loss in Normal. (Photo courtesy NORMAL — Scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns helped Western Illinois tighten the score Saturday against Illinois State. What the Leathernecks did in the first three quarters, however, doomed them in... Read more »

3 things we learned: Running game, defense spark Illinois State's first spring victory

Illinois State’s Nigel White (20) rushed for a game-high 112 yards as the Redbirds defeated rival Western Illinois Saturday at Hancock Stadium. (photo courtesy Illinois State Athletics) Normal—The 103rd meeting between rivals Illinois State and Western Illinois produced the first . . . and the 11th . . . and the 85th. ISU built a... Read more »

Ready and able: Southern Illinois QBs have answered the call in spring season

Junior Stone Labanowitz (6) took over at quarterback against Northern Iowa and completed 11 of 15 passes in the SIU victory. (Photo by As a former college and professional quarterback, Nick Hill knows it can be a lonely job. “It’s the toughest position on the team,” the Southern Illinois head football coach said. “Only... Read more »

ISU Redbirds host WIU Leathernecks as both seek first win of spring

Illinois State defensive end Romeo McKnight pressures Western Illinois quarterback Connor Sampson in the 2019 game. (photo by Barry Bottino, Prairie State Pigskin) Perhaps an unusual spring calls for an even more unusual football season. When Illinois State hosts Western Illinois Saturday, each rival is still seeking its first victory of this pandemic-driven, Missouri Valley... Read more »