Cy'zing Up The Competition – Illinois State

Saturday will be the first meeting between Illinois State and Iowa State. The Redbirds are 0-2 all-time against members of the Big 12 with losses at Oklahoma State and Kansas. Iowa State is 19-3-3 against the Gateway Football Conference.

  • It is the 11th straight season Illinois State has faced a Division I-A opponent.


  • In their last two Division I-A games, the Redbirds have totaled 991 yard of total offense or 495.5 per game. ISU totaled 511 yards of offense against Illinois in 2003 and followed that performance with 480 yards of production against then-ranked No. 22 Minnesota in 2004.


  • In the Denver Johnson era, the Redbirds are 3-2 in season openers.


  • Under Johnson, the Redbirds are 0-5 in road openers, but that stat is deceiving with all five losses coming at the hands of a Division I-A opponent – Northern Illinois (2000), Western Michigan (2001), Purdue (2002), Illinois (2003) and Minnesota (2004).


  • With the Redbirds, Johnson is 6-10 in the month of September.



ISU – ISU ties


  • The Redbirds leading rusher in 2004 began his collegiate career at Iowa State. Brian Thompson transferred to Illinois State prior to fall camp and finished the season with 866 yards to lead the ‘Birds. In his previous two seasons with the Cyclones, Thompson rushed for 305 yards and four touchdowns.


  • Illinois State women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton, who guided the Redbirds to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 after winning the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as an eight seed, was hired from Iowa State. With the Cyclones, Pingeton served as associate head coach on Bill Fennelly's staff from 2000-02. During her time at Iowa State, she helped the program earn two NCAA appearances.


  • Illinois State's strength and conditioning program, which recently unveiled the 9,200-square foot Owen Strength and Conditioning Center, also has Cyclone ties. Head strength coach Rohrk Cutchlow and assistant coach Landon Evans both completed degrees at Iowa State and are products of the Cyclone strength program. During his tenure at Iowa State, Cutchlow worked with storied wrestler Cael Sanderson.


  • Prior to becoming an athletic administrator, Illinois State's Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger was an assistant football coach. Prior to Illinois State, Zenger spent most of his career at Kansas State and is familiar with Jack Trice Stadium. During his time at K-State, both as an administrator and assistant coach, Zenger owns a perfect 3-0 mark in Ames, Iowa, against the Cyclones.


  • A K-State, Zenger was on the Wildcat staff with current Iowa State defensive line coach Mike Nelson.


  • Iowa State associate head coach Terry Allen coached eight seasons in the Gateway Football Conference at Northern Iowa. Allen guided the Panthers to seven straight league titles, while being awarded with five conference coach of the year honors. He owned a 6-2 record against Illinois State.


  • Sean Coughlin, a graduate assistant at Iowa State coached against the Redbirds in 2003 as the offensive line coach at his alma mater, Drake. The Redbirds won the game 27-13 at Hancock Stadium.


  • Ramon Barber and Iowa State's Cephus Johnson were prep teammates for one season at Palm Beach Gardens High School under head coach Tim Tharp.


  • The Redbirds' Sam Yeargin (Dillard HS) completed against Piper High School and Iowa State's Matt Robertson and Fabian Dodd during his prep career. In addition, Yeargin and Dodd were middle school classmates.


  • Another pair of classmates were Illinois State basketball player Nedu Onyeuku and Iowa State star running back Stevie Hicks and Brandon Gunn. Onyeuku and Hicks were on the same high school basketball team together at Creighton Prep. Gunn, also from Omaha, Neb., was also friends with Onyeuku, but attended a different high school.


  • They never faced each other in high school, but freshman Muhammed Kahlun and the Cyclones' DeAndre Jackson each grew up in Garland, Texas, while Lamont Lagrone and Iowa State's Brent Curvey are both from Houston, Texas.


  • Kye Stewart (Pearl-Cohn) and Tim Dobbins (Glencliff) are both from Nashville, Tenn., but never faced each other on the field. Dobbins was on his way to Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, when Stewart was beginning his first season of varsity football.


The Tale of the Tape – based on last year's statistics


Illinois State                         Iowa State


Record                                    4-7                                           7-5

Points                                     25.6                                          20.5

Points Allowed                      32.0                                          21.6

First Downs                           20.2                                          19.4

Rushing Yards                      154.3                                         141.8

Rushing Defense                  138.5                                         139.2

Passing Yards                       226.8                                         187.3

Passing Defense                  229.9                                         190.2

Total Offense                        381.1                                         329.1

Total Defense                       368.4                                         329.4

Interceptions                        6-29                                          17-294

Punt Return Avg.                  10.3                                          8.4

Kickoff Return Avg.              20.9                                          23.2

Fumbles Lost                       14                                             7

Penalties                               83-649                                       72-593

Field Goals                            8-12                                          11-21             



Illinois State's 2005 schedule


Sept. 3         @ Iowa State

Sept. 10        Drake

Sept. 17        @ Eastern Illinois

Sept. 24        Murray State

Oct. 1           @ Youngstown State

Oct. 8           Western Kentucky

Oct. 15         @ Southern Illinois

Oct. 22         Northern Iowa

Oct. 29         Western Illinois

Nov. 5           @ Missouri State

Nov. 11         Indiana State



Illinois State 2004 season in review


  • Illinois State went 4-7 overall, 2-5 in the Gateway Football Conference.


  • Linebacker Boomer Grigsby won an unprecedented third straight GFC Defensive Player of the Year award en route to claiming both the Illinois State and league career tackle marks with 580 stops.


  • Grigsby led the league in tackles for a third straight season and represented Illinois State at the East-West Shrine Game. He was later drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.


  • For the third straight year, Grigsby finished in the top three in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the best I-AA defensive football player in the nation.


  • Ryan Hoffman ranked No. 3 nationally in punting with 43.87 yards per kick and ranked first in the conference, but was voted second team all-conference.


  • Junior Brian Thompson, who opened the season with four carries for two yards and two fumbles lost, proceeded to lead the league in rushing for conference games with 125.2 yards per game. Thompson finished the season with 866 rushing yards, including 751 in league play.


  • The Redbirds' passing offense, behind the arm of Yance Vaughan, led the conference with 226.62 yards per game.

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