Richmond at Illinois State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs Quarterfinal Breakdown

George Hammond

Richmond at Illinois State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs Quarterfinal Breakdown


No. 7 Richmond at No. 2 Illinois State, Friday, 7:30

It will be the Colonial Athletic Association against the Missouri Valley Football Conference when Richmond (9-3) visits Illinois State (10-2) in a quarterfinal round matchup this weekend. It’s no surprise the Redbirds are here as last year’s national championship runner-up were pegged as a playoff favorite before the season even started. But the Spiders are somewhat of a surprise as they returned only five offensive starters from last year.

Ironically, Illinois State and Richmond played teams they had already beaten during the regular season. The Redbirds, 36-19 winners over Western Illinois on Saturday, defeated the Leathernecks 48-28 on Oct. 24. Richmond, meanwhile, crushed William & Mary 48-13 on Saturday in playoff action. The two had met just two weeks ago in the regular-season finale when the Spiders prevailed 20-9.

So what did we learn from Saturday’s outcomes? We learned that Illinois State still isn’t as impressive as it was in last year’s playoffs while Richmond beat a dead-tired William & Mary squad that hasn’t had a bye week since Sept. 12. The Redbirds actually were trailing in the third quarter against Western Illinois before rallying, while Richmond looked impressive against the Tribe.

But the Spiders, who won the national title in 2008, will face a much tougher foe this week. Although the Spiders shut down William & Mary’s running attack, it’s unlikely they have seen the power of Illinois State running back Marshaun Coprich, the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year. All Coprich has done recently is rush for 200 yards three straight games, including 217 yards against Western Illinois. And if Coprich doesn’t beat you, quarterback Tre Roberson might. He had 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns against the Leathernecks. Illinois State’s top receiver is Anthony Warrum, who set a school record this season with 14 touchdown catches.

But Richmond has firepower of its own. Running back Jacobi Green is over 1,300 yards for the season while wide receiver Brian Brown had more than 1,100 yards this year. The Spiders were second in the CAA in scoring offense and first in pass offense with redshirt sophomore Kyle Lauletta, who is among the top 10 nationally in passing yards.

But the Spiders were eighth in scoring defense in the CAA and seventh in rushing defense and against Coprich and company that’s not a good number. With only Richmond remaining from the CAA, the fears that the league wasn’t quite as strong as in years past is probably accurate. The Spiders are playing well, but if Illinois State comes to play – which it should considering it might have a semifinal date with rival North Dakota State – Richmond is likely in trouble.

Projected Score: Illinois State 34, Richmond 20


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