#28 Illinois State FCS Football 2014 Preview

Illinois State Redbirds

Overall Rank: #28
#5 Missouri Valley

Illinois State Team Page#28 Illinois State FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Illinois State Football Tickets

With a 2-4 start, Illinois State was practically out of the playoff picture by the middle of October. The Redbirds did win their next three games at home to give themselves a small shot at the playoffs, but that would involve beating both North Dakota State and Southern Illinois on the road. Illinois State lost both.

2013 Record: 5-6, 4-4
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Brock Spack (33-24 at Illinois State, 33-24 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kurt Beathard
Defensive Coordinator: Spence Nowinsky

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marshaun Coprich, RB, 884 yards
Passing: Blake Winkler, QB, 1,637 yards
Receiving: Cameron Meredith, WR, 370 yards
Tackles: Pat Meehan, LB, 83
Sacks: David Perkins, DL, 4.0; Bradon Prate, DL, 4.0
Interceptions: Tevin Allen, S, 2; Mike Banks, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Anthony Warrum, K Nick Aussieker, P CJ Laros, LB Alex Donnelly, S Donte McCoy

Key Losses: WR Phil Dudley, WR Chick Chatham, DL Colton Underwood, S Matt Goldsmith, DL Ricky Simpson, OL Josh Aladenoye

Thanks to the addition of a couple of Big Ten transfers, Illinois State’s offense suddenly looks very potent. Quarterback Tre Roberson, of Indiana, is a dynamic playmaker who many thought should have gotten the starting nod for the Hoosiers last year. He threw for 1,128 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, with just four interceptions. Roberson also rushed for 423 yards and five more scores, despite seeing limited action. The other transfer is Jeffrey Lewis, a running back from Wisconsin. Lewis has not played much for the Badgers, but he is a quality back who will join Marshaun Coprich and give Illinois State a potent ground game. Wide receivers like Anthony Warrum never really got the opportunity to show their stuff last season, but that will change now.

The defense does lose a couple key players on the line, most notably Colton Underwood. He had a magnificent collegiate career with the Redbirds and totaled 66 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 12.0 tackles-for-loss and nine quarterback hurries during his senior season. David Perkins and Bradon Prate are capable of stepping up and leading the line. Pat Meehan led the team with 83 tackles in 2013 from his middle linebacker position and he will almost certainly do the same this year. The addition of Oregon transfer Oshay Dunmore will make life easier for Meehan and the entire defense. Dontae McCoy and Tevin Allen are quality safeties and Mike Banks should be the top corner this season. However, the pass defense was not all that great last year and all those players need to improve.

The Bottom Line:
Illinois State will be one of the more interesting teams to watch in 2014. The starting defense could be very good, although depth is a concern across the board. Not having North Dakota State on the schedule is a bonus and getting South Dakota State, Youngstown State and Southern Illinois at home should put Illinois State right in the mix for a playoff spot.

Projected Postseason: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 136.9 (87th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 187.8 (82, 7)
Total Offense: 324.7 (95, 9)
Scoring Offense: 24.7 (71, 7)
Rushing Defense: 145.5 (42, 5)
Pass Defense: 224.5 (71, 8)
Total Defense: 370.0 (49, 8)
Scoring Defense: 29.5 (78, 9)
Turnover Margin: -0.40 (87, 10)
Sacks: 2.27 (39, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.27 (76, 8)

Madness 2014 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#24 Jake Kolbe
#59 Dequone Shaw
#90 Brannon Berry
#98 Romel Hill
#99 Bryce Holm
#117 Christian Gibbs
#138 Matt Biegalski
#153 Alec Kocour


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