Mountaineers host Illinois State in second-round of playoffs
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State will host Illinois State in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision.
The Mountaineers (8-3), tri-champions of the Southern Conference, earned a first-round bye. They’ll play Illinois State in the second round at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Illinois State, located in Normal, Ill., is in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Redbirds are coached by Brock Spack. and are also 8-3. They were ranked 11th in the FCS before their final game, a loss to No. 1 North Dakota State.
Should Appalachian State beat Illinois State, the Mountaineers would play the winner of Eastern Washington, the No. 2 seeded team, and either Colgate or Wagner.
North Dakota State is the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs. The No. 3 seeded team is Montana State, the No. 4 seed is Old Dominion and the No. 5 seed is Georgia Southern.
All three Southern Conference representatives have first-round byes and play at home in the second round. Georgia Southern hosts Central Arkansas at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1. Wofford hosts New Hampshire, also at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Appalachian State ended its season with a 33-28 victory over Furman on Nov. 10. The Mountaineers had a bye on Nov. 24, meaning they will go two weeks without playing a game.
It’s an unusual thing to happen, but Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore was not all that concerned about it during the Southern Conference call on Nov. 13. He said it was a chance for injured players to get healed, and for players to might not be injured, but suffering from usually bumps and bruises, to rest.
“I have to know the pulse of the ballclub,” Moore said. “What we needed was a break. After we lost to Wofford, we knew we had a three-game season. The ballgame against Georgia Southern was a tough, physical football game. The ballgame against Furman took some fight, so we needed the break.”
Illinois State closed out its regular season with a 38-20 loss at home to North Dakota State. The Redbirds actually led 20-17 going into the fourth quarter before letting the game, and the MVFC championship, get away.
The Redbirds had a bye before that game after winning two straight road games, first a 33-21 win at Northern Iowa, then a 17-10 win over Indiana State.
Illinois State is 5-0 away from home, and just 3-3 at home. The Redbirds lost 17-0 to Southern Illinois on Oct. 6 and against Missouri State 24-17. Both games were at home.
Illinois State also beat Eastern Michigan 31-14 on Sept. 18.