Story and photo courtesy of Illinois State Athletics
– Despite cool, cloudy and windy conditions at Hancock Stadium Saturday, a strong group of Illinois State football fans came out to watch the white team dominate the red squad by a score of 21-3 in the team’s annual Red-White Spring Scrimmage.
The scrimmage capped off a 15-practice spring session for the Redbirds, who are led by fourth-year head coach Brock Spack. The white team, which consisted of players from the first-team defensive unit and the second-team offense, took it to the red squad consisting of the first-team offense and the second-team defense.
The white team took the early lead in the first quarter. Quarterback Justin Lane threw an incomplete pass and was sacked to start the drive, but then got into rhythm with passes completed to Milton Colbert, Corey Shandrick and a 19-yard completion to Tyler Finkbeiner that moved the ball down to the red team’s 18 yard line. The white team worked its running game in the following three possessions with back-to-back carries from Chad Zastrow and rush by Nick Bellamy. Zastrow then scored the first touchdown of the day on a one-yard carry and Matt Cotiguala kicked the extra point to put the white team up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Cameron Meredith led the offense for the red team on the next drive, completing his first throw to Phil Dudley, but could not connect with Tyrone Walker on a 10-yard pass on the next play. Shelby Harris ended the drive with a sack for the white team. The defense continued to pressure the quarterbacks and Jeffery Wehmhoefer captured another sack for the defense, forcing the white team to punt after four plays.
After two scoreless quarters, the red team finally put points on the board at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Meredith stepped in for the red team and went 3-for-3, with a pair of completions to Dudley and two carries by running back Cameron Hunt. Albert Sparks grabbed a sack on the next play for a loss of six yards for the red team to stop momentum momentarily, but Meredith regained composure and connected with Dudley on a 34-yard grab to get the ball down to the white team’s 11 yard line.
The drive stalled there, as the defense forced a rush for no gain by Hunt, an incompletion from Meredith and Will Davis sacked Meredith on third down to force a field-goal attempt. Nick Aussieker kicked the 29-yard field goal through the uprights to give the red team their first points and cut the lead to 7-3.
From there, the white squad took over and scored 14 un-answered points to secure the win. Right after the field goal, Adam Pitter led the squad on a quick three-play scoring drive, capped off on a 57-yard touchdown completions to Colbert to make the score 14-3.
Following a three-and-out by Meredith and the red team, Lane took the field on the red team 33 yard line and needed just two plays to score. Lane completed an 18-yard pass to Scott Kuehn, before finding Shandrick for a 15-yard touchdown pass to cap off the scoring on the day.
Pitters led all Redbird quarterbacks with 131 yards passing and touchdown and Lane finished 7-for-10 for 79 with a touchdown. Meredith finished the day 11-for-19 for 116 yards for the red squad. Colbert led all receivers with four catches for 75 yards with a score and Shandrick added five grabs for 57 yards and touchdown.
The defense was led by redshirt freshman Davis, who compiled five tackles including two sacks. Senior defensive end Nate Palmer added three stops, all for loss, with two sacks and Evan Frierson and also added a sack. Freshman linebacker Kevin McGarry recorded the lone turnover of the day, when he picked off a Lane pass and returned it 20 yards for an interception. In all, the defense forced eight sacks, compiled 13 tackles-for-loss and held the offensive units to -9 yards rushing.
The Redbirds will return to the field Saturday, August 4, when they begin fall training camp in preparation for the 2012 season opener Saturday, September 1, against Dayton at Hancock Stadium.