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FCS MVFC Week 11 Preview: Illinois State (6-3) at South Dakota State (7-2)

Matt Anzio of NFL Draft Diamonds breaks down the Illinois State versus South Dakota State football game

FCS MVFC Week 11 Preview

Illinois State 6-3 at South Dakota State 7-2 by Matt Anzio 

The Illinois State Redbirds are coming off a tough loss to Northern Iowa and will now head to South Dakota State to face a redhot Jackrabbit team. 

The Jackrabbits are riding high after their 35 -14 victory over the Missouri State Bears. The prior week they fell short against FCS powerhouse NDSU.  South Dakota State lost their starting QB last week in J’ Bore Gibbs after injuring his leg. Gibbs looks like he should be out the remainder of the year. First year QB Keaton Heide will get his first career start after looking good in the relief role last week. Behind him will be Sophomore Running Back Pierre Strong Jr.  The young back has been tearing it up running, catching, and even throwing the ball, a bit last Sat. Jackrabbit’s pass catcher Cade Johnson is coming off a 164 yd 1 TD outing.  Their defense had 2 picks off the Bears Senior signal caller Peyton Huslig. They didn’t allow any Bear to get more than 52 yards receiving all day long.  They iced the game in the 4th quarter when the Bears  junior Safety Michael Griffin will recovered a fumble late in the fourth. 

The Illinois State Redbirds are a team that have impressed despite their schedule not being overly difficult thus far. Last week was a surprise that they lost by so much. Most would have thought it was pretty evenly matched.  Losing 27 – 10 to a young Northern Iowa team has some scratching their heads. Were the Redbirds overrated or are the Panthers this good? 

Redbirds will try to rebound and get theit 2 headed monster rolling again. Both star Senior RB James Robinson & Junior JUCO transfer burner Jeff Procter, have been impressive this year.  Senior QB Brady Davis will have to limit mistakes. After Davis threw 3 picks last week, he will need to correct that going forward.  The Redbird defense has made some Big plays in prior weeks, including Junior defensive back Devin Taylor’s interception of McElvain last Saturday.  The week before against Indiana State the Redbird D forced 3 fumbles  Senior linebacker Aaron Mends forced one. Then  Monster 6’6, 325 lb D lineman John Ridgeway forced the 2nd & finally on Special teams Safety Clayton Isbell recovered a muffed return. 

They won’t have it any easier this week against an SDSU secondary that had 2 INT’s. One from Junior DB Joshua Manchigiah, and another coming from Freshman corner Diamond Evans, which was the first of his young career.   Jackrabbits will try to keep it going.  The last time the Redbirds got beat that bad was against the Bison 37-3 earlier this year. The following week they bounced back nicely against the  Southern Illinois Salukis 21-7. This looks like it is going to be a much harder team to bounce back against. Still in the year where we have seen our Fair share of upsets, nothing would surprise me. Could be a matchup with important playoff implications.  A must win for an Illinois State team that seems poised for  a much-needed playoff run.  Losing to back to back to Conference foes could find themselves as the odd man out with Northern Iowa, SDSU & of course FCS Dynasty and undefeated champion NDSU Bison all in the mix. 

Last season the Jackrabbits beat the Redbirds 38 – 28 on 10/27/18.  

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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