For the first time this season, Illinois State will travel outside the state lines when it travels to Brookings, South Dakota, to face South Dakota State. The No. 11 ranked Redbirds (6-3, 3-2 MVFC) will look to bounce back after a tough defeat at the hands of No. 9 UNI last week, while the No. 4 ranked Jackrabbits (7-2, 4-1 MVFC) look to win their second in a row after a bounce-back win at Missouri State last weekend.
A scheduling anomaly for the Redbirds in 2019 resulted in the team not having to leave the state of Illinois until this upcoming weekend, when ISU flies to South Dakota to play the Jackrabbits. Five home games and four road contests against in-state foes have kept the Redbirds close to the nest, but that all changes this week when the nationally-ranked Jacks host the Redbirds. So far, the road has been kind to the 'Birds with a 3-1 record including three-straight wins over Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. ISU has averaged over 23 points per contest in those games and have limited their hosts to an average of just 8 points per game.
Illinois State currently sits at No. 11 in the STATS FCS Top 25 and No. 12 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Four MVFC teams are ranked again in the polls this week, including North Dakota State (No. 1), South Dakota State (No. 4), Northern Iowa (5) and Illinois State (11) . The Redbirds have been ranked in every poll so far this season, with a high ranking of No. 6 in the FCS Coaches Poll.