Illinois State edges Eastern Illinois 31-24 with late score

NCAA Football

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Pha’leak Brown scored on a 3-yard run with 1:54 to play and Illinois State defeated Eastern Illinois 31-24 on Saturday night, it’s fourth straight win in the 109-year old Mid-America Classic.

The win was the 87th win at Illinois State for Brock Spack, making him the winningest coach in school history, passing Edwin Struck, who coached from 1945-64. Spack earned his Master’s degree and coached at Eastern Illinois.

After Illinois State stopped the Panthers on downs, Eastern Illinois blocked a field goal attempt but couldn’t get an advance on the ball and had four incompletions from inside their 35 in the final 34 seconds.

The Redbirds (2-1) put together the winning drive after stopping the Panthers on fourth-and-1 from the 27 with 4:15 left.

Eastern Illinois never led after the Redbirds took the opening drive 75 yards, scoring on a 15-yard run by Nigel White. The Panthers caught up on a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown by DeAirious Smith that tied the game at 17 at 6:46 of the third quarter.

Illinois State regained the lead on an 8-yard run by Jackson Waring before Eastern Illinois tied it again early in the fourth.

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