#16 Illinois State FCS Football 2013 Preview

Illinois State Redbirds

Overall Rank: #16
#4 Missouri Valley
#16 Illinois State FCS Football 2013 Preview
Illinois State Team Page


The Redbirds had a strong 2012 season that may have seen some of the most exciting games in the FCS.  Illinois State reached the second round of the playoffs before finally being knocked out by another strong squad in Eastern Washington. Illinois State starts 2013 with high expectations, but the reality may not be so sweet with the loss of a lot of talent from last season and a tough schedule this season.

2012 record:(9-4, 5-3)
2012 postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Brock Spack
Offensive Coordinator: George Barnett
Defensive Coordinator: Brock Spack

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Cameron Hunt, RB, 313 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Lechein Neblett, WR, 667 yards
Tackles: Colton Underwood, DL, 95
Sacks:  Colton Underwood, DL, 10.5
Interceptions: Mike Banks, DB, 2

Other key returners:  TE James O’Shaughnessy, S Ezra Thompson, LB Alex Donnelly

Key losses: QB Matt Brown, RB Darrelynn Dunn, WR Tyrone Walker, WR Donovan Hardin, DL Mike Zimmer, DB Ben Ericksen

Brock Spack knows how to lead a team through conference play and has some postseason experience under his belt, which will prove strong in 2013 as he tries to lead a program to back-to-back banner seasons. The defense returns more intact than the offense but will still need to grow and tighten up. ISU won five games a year ago when the opponent still scored more than 20 points and that likely won’t be repeated.

Loss of talent, loss of talent. The Redbirds are trying to back up one strong season with another this year but they will do so without some key guys that contributed greatly a year ago. The backfield duo of quarterback Matt Brown and running back Darrelynn Dunn is gone as well as leading receiver and scorer Tyrone Walker and leading tackler Mike Zimmer. And the team will for sure miss Ben Ericksen’s seven picks. The offense has to blend and become strong early with tough non-conference games followed by a run through the Missouri Valley.

The Bottom Line:
The Redbirds face an uphill battle to repeat a strong season that was capped last year with a postseason win over Appalachian State before falling to Eastern Washington. As mentioned, the Redbirds lose a lot of starters in key positions and face a tough schedule that opens with FBS Ball State and 2012 Ohio Valley champ Eastern Illinois followed by the rigors of a MVFC run with road games at Youngstown State and  two-time defending champ North Dakota State.  

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 134.08 (79th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 262.69 (23, 1)
Total Offense: 396.77 (46, 1)
Scoring Offense: 30.23 (34, 3)
Rushing Defense: 128.23 (27, 5)
Pass Defense: 206.77 (47, 8)
Total Defense: 335.00 (28, 6)
Scoring Defense: 26.08 (56, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (19, 2)
Sacks: 3.31 (4, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.08 (14, 2)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#18 Dalton Keene
#42 Jalen Battle


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