Normal, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Illinois State enacted revenge for its only loss of the regular season by pounding Northern Iowa, 41-21, in a matchup of Missouri Valley Football Conference teams in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The result was surprisingly one-sided after Northern Iowa won the regular- season meeting, 42-28, at home, but fifth-seeded Illinois State (11-1) kept its two-season home winning streak intact while powering into the national quarterfinals next weekend. They will travel to fourth-seeded Eastern Washington.
Illinois State, which has won 13 straight games at Hancock Stadium, built a 24-0 halftime lead to dispatch of UNI (9-5). Quarterback Tre Roberson finished with 382 yards and four touchdowns through the air and running back Marshaun Coprich had 148 yards and a score on the ground.
Coprich became the Redbirds' single-season record holder with 1,831 rushing yards after his 12th straight 100-yard game to open the campaign.
Illinois State scored on its first three drives to take a commanding 21-0 lead. Roberson connected on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Meredith to cap the game's opening drive and then Coprich's 29-yard run on the Redbirds' second possession set up his 1-yard score to make it 14-0 with 8:16 left in the first quarter.
The Redbirds' third drive began midway through the first quarter and ended in the first minute of the second quarter after they went 87 yards in 15 plays with Roberson and Meredith connected on a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Nick Aussieker's 45-yard field goal to end the first half pushed Illinois State's lead to 24-0. The Redbirds had a 345-52 advantage in offensive yards and a 16-3 advantage in first downs in the half while holding the ball nearly twice as long as the Panthers.
James O'Shaughnessy (four receptions, 115 yards) caught two touchdowns in the second half and joined Meredith (seven receptions, 105 yards) with over 100 receiving yards.
Northern Iowa All-American David Johnson had only 48 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, but he finished with 108 yards on four kickoff returns and another 30 yards on five receptions.