YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - No. 16 Youngstown State scored 31 second-quarter points en route to a 59-21 victory over Illinois State Saturday night at Stambaugh Stadium. The 59 points surrendered by the Redbirds were the most Illinois State has allowed since falling 65-38, Oct. 30, 2010, at Western Illinois.
Illinois State (2-4, 1-2 MVFC) stumbled for the fourth time this season away from Hancock Stadium, allowing a season-high 569 yards of total offense. Youngstown State (6-1, 3-0 MVFC) quarterback Kurt Hess threw for a career-high 311 yards, completing 17-of-21 passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Blake Winkler finished 15-for-23 for 221 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for ISU. Seven different players tallied receptions for the Redbirds, with Phil Dudley leading the pack with five receptions and Cameron Meredith totaling 93 receiving yards with one score. Marshaun Coprich secured his second-consecutive 100-yard rush game, compiling 110 rush yards on 14 carries with one touchdown.
Illinois State received the opening kickoff and marched 88 yards to strike first. Winkler completed both pass attempts on the opening drive, including a 27-yard strike to Milton Colbert. Winkler, Coprich and Dudley all had long runs, setting up first-and-goal from the Penguins two yard line. On the seventh play from scrimmage, Keoshian powered through the defensive line for the score, giving Illinois State a 7-0 lead. The rushing touchdown was the sixth this season for Keoshian and his fifth from inside of three yards.
Youngstown State responded with a 75-yard scoring drive to knot the game at 7-7. After forcing a Redbird punt, the Penguins marched 88 yards, scoring on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Hess to Andrew Williams. Youngstown State added two more scores, one on a 26-yard run, and the other on a 67-yard pass, building a 28-7 advantage on the Redbirds mid-way through the second quarter.
Winkler put the Redbirds back on the scoreboard with the longest completion of his career, finding Meredith for a 73-yard touchdown completion to cap a two-play scoring drive. The touchdown put Illinois State in a 28-14 hole, but it is as close as the Redbirds would get the rest of the night. Youngstown State added a field goal and a touchdown before the break to lead 38-14 at halftime.
The Penguins received the ball first to open the second half and scored a pair of touchdowns, before the Redbirds could find the end zone. Trailing 52-14, Coprich weaved through the defense for a 23-yard touchdown, highlighting a seven-play, 70-yard drive for ISU. With the touchdown, Coprich became the first running back to surpass 100 yards versus Youngstown State this season. Youngstown State capped the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown dash from Jody Webb in the fourth quarter.
In the closing minutes of the game, quarterback Adam Pittser saw his first action in a Redbird uniform and went 2-for-6 for 14 yards. His longest pass was a 7-yard completion to Cameron Hunt.