Local Sports

Western Illinois rallies in second half to beat Illinois St.

Connor Sampson threw for three touchdowns and Western Illinois rallied in the second half to beat Illinois State 38-31 on Saturday and snap a four-game losing streak.


Trailing 28-13, the Leathernecks (2-7, 2-4) scored two touchdowns in the final 2:36 of the third quarter then Sampson put them ahead with a 6-yard TD throw to Dennis Houston for a 35-28 lead with 10 1/2 minutes remaining in the game. Houston also recovered a teammate’s fumble deep in Illinois State territory with about two minutes left that led to Mason Laramie’s third field goal.


A minute after Sampson threw a 20-yard TD pass to Jack Whyte to get within 28-20, Michael Lawson scooped up a fumble and returned it 41 yards for a WIU score.


Sampson was 27 of 39 for 298 yards passing.


Cole Mueller rushed for 159 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns for the Redbirds (3-5, 1-4),


WIU snapped a three-game losing streak to the Redbirds, who came in with 10 victories in the rivals’ last 11 meetings.

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