ISU defeats EWU in Quarterfinal, 59-46

Vernon+Adams+Jr.++looking+to+pass+the+ball

Jessica Hawley

Vernon Adams Jr. looking to pass the ball

By Sam Deal, Sports Editor

The Eagles watched their championship aspirations run away from them on Dec. 3 when the team lost to the Illinois State University Redbirds, 59-46.

Run over might be a better explanation.

ISU, who boasted a front line unlike any the Eagles saw this season, rushed for over 330 yards and were 10 of 16 on third downs.

“We are a pretty physical team; that’s the way we like to play,” said Redbird head coach Brock Spack. “We play a pretty efficient running game; we did what we wanted to do.”

The Eagles played a choppy first half filled with uncharacteristic play including errant throws and multiple dropped passes, but trailed by only seven points at the half. ISU would open up the second half outscoring the Eagles, 21-3, in the third quarter, with junior running back Marshaun Coprich scoring two of his four total touchdowns.

“As a whole offense, we have definitely played better,” said quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. “We have to be on point against a team like this … these teams are good, and you can’t make too many mistakes against teams like this.”

Coprich and Redbirds quarterback Tre Robinson combined for over 500 yards on the game.

“The swarm of our [defense] was a half step behind today,” said linebacker Ronnie Hamlin. “They are a great team and a great offense. They had our number today.”

The Eagles did have a late rally in the fourth quarter, putting up 26 points largely with  big connections between Vernon Adams and his receiving corps. For EWU it was too little too late.

“We wanted to stay in one personnel group and score as fast as we can,” said quarterback coach Zak Hill. “We knew we needed to score quickly.”

The Eagles’ fate was sealed when they failed to convert an onside kick and recovery with just under two minutes left in the game.

While the Eagle’s offense exploded in the final quarter, their defense was still unable to stop the ISU offense who seemed to come up with a big play every time momentum was swinging back toward EWU.

“They made the plays, and we didn’t,” said Hamlin. “Their quarterback is good, and if you give him time he is going to make the right play.”