#2 Illinois State FCS Football 2015 Preview

Illinois State Redbirds

Overall Rank: #2
#2 Missouri Valley

Illinois State Team Page#2 Illinois State FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Illinois State Football Tickets

Illinois State reached their first ever FCS championship game and will ride that momentum to another great season in 2015. Winning 13 games and sharing another MVFC title is a very lofty goal, but the superstars are back to lead the way. Last season the Redbirds beat some of the best teams in the country, knocking off Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington and New Hampshire, the latter two on the road, to reach the title game against North Dakota State. The Bison slipped past Illinois State 29-27 in a tight championship game and it could again be NDSU that prevents the Redbirds from reaching their goals.

2014 Record: 13-2, 7-1
2014 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Brock Spack (46-26 at Illinois State, 46-26 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kurt Beathard
Defensive Coordinator: Spence Nowinsky

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marshaun Coprich, RB, 2,274 yards
Passing: Tre Roberson, QB, 3,221 yards
Receiving: Anthony Warrum, WR, 226 yards
Tackles: Pat Meehan, LB, 115
Sacks: David Perkins, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Teddy Corwin, DL, 3; Alex Donnelly, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: WR Jon-Marc Anderson, DB DraShane Glass

Key Losses: WR Cameron Meredith, WR Lechein Neblett, TE James O’Shaughnessy, OL Jermaine Barton, OL Rocco Ammons, OL Mike Liedtke, DL Collin Keoshian, DB Mike Banks, LB Oshay Dunmore, DL Bradon Prate, P C.J. Laros

The MVFC’s best rushing offense will once again give opposing defenses nightmares. Running back Marshaun Coprich rushed for 2,274 yards and 27 touchdowns last season and was named College Sports Madness’ national Offensive Player of the Year heading into the 2015 campaign. He is a superb talent and an absolute workhorse. He carried the ball 370 times and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. If there is a way to stop him, nobody has figured it out yet. Quarterback Tre Roberson is also extremely dangerous with his legs. He rushed for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns. Roberson also threw for 3,221 yards and 30 touchdowns. The offensive line has some reloading to do, but building around Mark Spelman and Kyle Avaloy should keep the unit strong. There are some questions at wide receiver too with Cameron Meredith and Lechein Neblett gone. Those two each had over 1,000 receiving yards in 2014. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy was the third most productive pass catcher and he too needs to be replaced. There are some pretty talented options though. Anthony Warrum is the top returning receiver with 17 catches for 226 yards, but watch out for sophomores Jon-Marc Anderson and Christian Gibbs.

Like the offense, the defense has some superstars to build around, but must fill in quite a few holes. The front line boasts Teddy Corwin, who totaled 98 tackles, including 7.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles-for-loss. He also recorded ten quarterback hurries and three interceptions. David Perkins added 8.0 sacks, but the middle of the line has less experience. Linebacker Pat Meehan is the leader of the defense. He led the Redbirds with 115 tackles last season and will anchor a group that also includes Alex Donnelly and Iowa transfer Reggie Spearman. There is not much experience left in the secondary. Cornerback Josh Burch started a handful of games last season and should be ready to emerge as the top corner and DraShane Glass is ready for a big sophomore season.

The Bottom Line:
The Redbirds will be tested early with four of their first six games on the road. It starts at Iowa, but the Redbirds host Morgan State next. Trips to Eastern Illinois and Youngstown State and a home contest against Northern Iowa will tell us a lot about where the Redbirds are at. A 4-1 or 5-0 start means this is a team that can get back to the title game. The Redbirds do miss North Dakota State during the regular season yet again, but those two teams are already on a collision course to meet in the playoffs.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 241.3 (10th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 222.3 (48, 5)
Total Offense: 463.6 (17, 1)
Scoring Offense: 38.3 (9, 1)
Rushing Defense: 121.5 (18, 2)
Pass Defense: 223.7 (76, 7)
Total Defense: 345.2 (30, 3)
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (24, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.13 (52, 5)
Sacks: 2.93 (11, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.47 (35, 4)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#7 Jamal Brown
#21 Josh Sromovsky
#57 Decxavier Kelly-Martin
#92 Marc Miller
#115 Willie Edwards
#189 Michael Kolzow


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