Local Sports

Illinois State Opens Home Slate Hosting Valparaiso

Coming off a tough season opener on the road at No. 18 Wisconsin last weekend, Illinois State returns to the friendly confines of Hancock Stadium to begin a three-game homestand with a contest against Pioneer Football League foe Valparaiso.


Agaionst the No. 18 Badgers, the Redbirds posted 14 first downs compared to 18 for Wisconsin, and passed for 186 yards while recording 243 yards of total offense. 


Six transfer newcomers saw action in the season opener at Wisconsin, with several stepping up to play big minutes and contribute in big ways for the Redbirds. Quarterback Zack Annexstad was solid in his debut after transferring from Minnesota, passing for 186 yards and posting a QBR of 115.1. Fellow Minnesota transfer and brother, Brock, caught a pair of passes for 36 yards for the Redbirds as well. 


Kentucky transfer Jake Pope also saw action on the offensive line late in the contest. On the defensive side, the transfer trio of defensive backs Deandre Lamont, Sy Dabney and Larry Tracy III also contributed, with Lamont recording five tackles and breakup, and Dabney and Tracy each recording two tackles each.


The Beacons opened the 2022 season last weekend at home against Indiana Wesleyan and came away with a thrilling win, as Brian Bartholomew drilled a career-long 50-yard field goal in the final two minutes to propel Valpo to the 20-17 victory. For his efforts in the win, Bartholomew was named the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week.


Aaron Dawson rushed for 147 yards on 22 carries in his Valpo debut. The Beacons outgained Indiana Wesleyan in rushing yards 145-25, but the Wildcats held the advantage in the passing game 273-194.


Game time is 6:30 pm from Hancock Stadium in Normal.

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