Provided by UNI Athletics Media Relations…
NORMAL, ILL. – Ninth-ranked UNI football played its most complete game of the season, dominating both sides of the ball en route to a 27-10 win over No. 7 Illinois State Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Normal.
UNI forced four turnovers, including three on four consecutive offensive plays in the fourth quarter and held the Redbirds to 210 yards of total offense. Walter Peyton Award candidate James Robinson recorded 39 yards on 16 carries, a 2.4 average.
Offensively, the Will McElvain tied his career-high three TD passes, including two to Suni Lane to lead UNI on the offensive side. He was 14-28 for 189 and three TDs. Isaiah Weston tallied a team-high 68 yards on five catches but was held out of the end zone for the first time since week one’s loss to Iowa State.
Jaylin James scored a touchdown on an 11-yard reception with 3:28 to play in the first quarter to give UNI the 7-0. Illinois State responded with their longest drive to tie the game up at 7-7.
Lane only caught two passes, his first was a 16-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the first half to give UNI a 14-7 lead at the break. An interception by Omar Brown in Redbird territory set up the score.
His second was a 27-yard TD with 11:00 to play in the game. McElvain appeared to be wrapped up for a sack but escaped two defenders to fins Lane streaking to the pylon. He brought in the reception to give UNI a 21-10 lead.
UNI then recorded three turnovers in four Illinois State offensive plays. The first was an interception by Christian Jegen, which led to a 23-yard field goal by Matthew Cook. On the next play for the Redbirds, Roosevelt Lawrence forced a fumble that was recovered by Xavior Williams to set up a 33-yard field goal for Cook.
Two plays into Illinois State’s next drive, Brown picked up his second interception of the day.
Nick McCabe tallied 44 rushing yards on 15 carries to lead all rushers.
The win is coach Mark Farley’s 87th against a top-25 opponent and improved his record in November to 57-10 in the month during his career.