Mike Sanford Camps
Football Gameday Central: Sycamores Sitting Square On Playoff Bubble This Saturday
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Release:11/17/2011
Courtesy: Tony Campbell/ISU Photographic Services
Senior Rod Hardy
Danny Pfrank
GoSycamores.com

SETTING THE STAGE

The fourth season of the Trent Miles era continues on Saturday, November 19, as the No. 23 Sycamores close out the regular season against the Southern Illinois Salukis in a Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup. Saturday's game is set for a 2:05 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Memorial Stadium (12,746). The game can be heard on ESPN Radio (92.7 FM), with Brian Fritz and Tom James calling the action for the Nelligan Sports Marketing Radio Network.

THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS SERIES

Southern Illinois and Indiana State are meeting for the 49th time this weekend, with the Salukis holding a slim 25-23 lead in the all-time series. ISU had won nine straight games in the series from 1994-2002, but SIU has picked up eight consecutive victories in their meetings from 2003-2010. The Salukis topped the Sycamores 49-21 last season in Carbondale, and won 33-0 in their last trip to Terre Haute in 2009.

THE COACHES

INDIANA STATE:  Trent Miles (Indiana State '87)

            - Overall: 13-31 (4th Season)

            - at Indiana State: 13-31 (4th Season)

            - vs. Southern Illinois: 0-3

            - vs. Missouri Valley Football Conference: 9-22

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS:  Dale Lennon (North Dakota '83)

            - Overall: 130-51 (16th Season)

            - at Southern Illinois: 28-18 (4th Season)

            - vs. Indiana State: 3-0

            - vs. Missouri Valley Football Conference: 20-11

QUICK HITS

- Indiana State is ranked No. 23 this week in FCS Coaches Top 25 Poll. This marks a new school record for the Sycamores as they have appeared in the national polls for a eighth consecutive week.

- The Sycamores are ranked No. 13 this week in the Gridiron Power Index (GPI), the index ranking for the NCAA Division I FCS and a top indicator of at-large playoff selection, landing ISU squarely on the bubble for an at-large selection to the postseason tournament.

- Sophomore Shakir Bell broke the school record for single-season rushing yards last Saturday, entering today's game with 1,533 for the year. That total would rank the super sophomore in ninth in ISU's career record book as well.

- When the game is played in Terre Haute, Indiana State holds a 15-11 record against Southern Illinois.

The Indiana State Head Coach

Indiana State head coach Trent Miles (Indiana State, 1987) is 13-31 (.295) overall in his fourth season as a head coach, all with the Sycamores. He is 9-22 all-time in MVFC games, including a 6-9 mark at home and a 3-13 mark on the road. During his career, he is 9-12 in all home games, 4-19 on the road and 3-3 in games decided by three points or less. Miles is 0-3 all-time against Southern Illinois. With the Trees, Miles is 1-2 in overtime games, and 0-5 in shutouts. Saturday's game is Trent Miles' 45th game as Indiana State head coach.

The Southern Illinois Head Coach

Southern Illinois is led by head coach Dale Lennon (North Dakota, 1983) who is in his 16th year as a head coach and fourth with the Salukis. Lennon is 130-51 in his career and 28-18 with the Carbondale, Ill., school. He is 3-0 against Indiana State and is 20-11 against the MVFC. A running back in college, Lennon played at North Dakota from 1979-83.

Scouting The Salukis

Southern Illinois enters Saturday's game with a 3-7 overall record this season, including a 1-6 mark in Missouri Valley Football Conference play. The Salukis entered the season ranked 17th in the FCS Coaches Poll, reaching as high as 12th in the nation after their MVFC opening victory over Missouri State on Sept. 24. SIU snapped a six-game losing streak last week in their final non-conference game of the season, topping in-state rival Eastern Illinois, 45-28. Southern Illinois is lead in rushing by Jewel Hampton who has 943 yards on the ground, averaging 94.3 yards per game. Quarterback Kory Faulkner is 122-of-198 (good for 61.6%) for 1,330 yards with five touchdowns against seven interceptions. Tight end MyCole Pruitt has grabbed a team-leading 39 pass receptions this year for 496 yards, while Sam Fuller tops the roster with 530 yards, an average of 53.0 per game.

A Little History

This marks the 107th season of football at Indiana State, dating back to 1896. The University did not field teams from 1899 to 1900, 1908 or from 1910 to 1919. ISU owns an all-time record of 351-474-22 and is competing for the 26th consecutive season as a member of the MVFC.

What's Transpired

Indiana State is 6-4 on the season, going 2-1 in nonconference play with wins over Butler (48-34) and Western Kentucky (44-16) while falling on the road at Penn State (41-7). The Sycamores won their first contest against a NCAA FBS Subdivision member since 2001 with the win over WKU. ISU is 4-3 in Missouri Valley Football Conference play, picking up wins over Youngstown State (37-35), South Dakota State (38-28), Western Illinois (46-24) and Missouri State (28-20) while dropping league games to Northern Iowa (23-9), Illinois State (17-14) and North Dakota State (27-16). ISU stretched its winning streak to three games with a 37-35 home victory over Youngstown State - its first over the Penguins at Memorial Stadium in 12 tries. ISU secured its first 2-0 start to league play since 1996 with a 38-28 victory at South Dakota State. Indiana State's victory over Missouri State last Saturday gave the Sycamores a trio of road victories this season, their most in a single season since 1979. The Sycamores are led in rushing by Shakir Bell who has 1,533 yards on 206 carries, averaging 7.4 yards per touch with 13 touchdowns. Bell is also the national leader in rushing yards per game, going off for a 153.3 average per contest. Ronnie Fouch has completed 54.3-percent of his passes, connecting on 120-of-221 attempts with 16 touchdowns. Justin Hilton leads ISU with 29 catches for 489 yards and four touchdowns while Alex Jones leads the receivers with 501 yards for the season, coming on 23 catches with four touchdowns. Sophomore transfer Donald Spencer also has four touchdowns receptions this season, coming on 26 catches for 291 yards. Aaron Archie leads the defense, recording a team-high 109 tackles on the season, good for 14th best in the country with a 10.9 per game average. Ben Obaseki tops the team with 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, including a 22-tackle performance on Oct. 15 against Western Illinois.

Earning National Respect In The Top 25 Polls

Indiana State is ranked No. 23 in this week's FCS Coaches Poll while continuing to receive votes in the The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 poll. The Sycamores have been nationally-ranked for a school record of eight consecutive weeks in 2011.

Winning Ways

The Sycamores secured a winning season on Saturday, Nov. 12, with their 28-20 victory over Missouri State. ISU also had a winning season in 2010, as the Sycamores have posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1995 and 1996.

Bell Becomes Quickest To 1,000 Yards In School History

It took sophomore Shakir Bell just seven games in the 2011 season to reach to 1,000 yard mark for the year, as the Indianapolis, Ind., native became the quickest runner to reach the milestone. Bell eclipsed the mark on a 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Western Illinois, blowing past the total by adding another long touchdown run, this time of 47 yards, later in the game. For the season, Bell has amassed 1,310 yards on 151 carries, averaging 156.0 yards per game and 8.3 yards per carry. The quickest that any Indiana State football player has ever reached 1,000 yards rushing in a season was Vincent Allen who eclipsed the mark in eight games during his freshman campaign in 1974.

300 Tackles

Senior Alex Sewall entered ISU's 300 Tackle Club this season, a group that now holds just 13 members. Sewall, a senior from Western Springs, Ill., currently sits in seventh place in Sycamore history with 345 career tackles, needing eight stops this weekend to move past Eric Christensen (352 -- 1988-1991) for sixth place. This season, Sewall is third on the team with 101 tackles, including a team-leading 50 solo stops.

Making "Bell"-ievers Of The Competition

Sophomore running back Shakir Bell set the Indiana State single-season rushing record on Saturday, passing Derrick Franklin's 1,505 yards from the 1991 season. Bell racked up 206 yards on the ground against Missouri State on 39 carries, pushing his season total to 1,533. With one regular-season game left on the schedule, Bell currently sits in 11th place in MVFC history for single-season yards on the ground and needs just 24 yards to move into eighth place.

Single-Season Rushing Leaders At Indiana State

                                  YEARS      ATT.      YARDS     AVG.        TDs

1. Shakir Bell             2011        206        1,533        7.4           13

2. Derrick Franklin         1991         318        1,505         4.1           12

3. David Wright             1992         219        1,313         6.0           10

4. Derrick Franklin         1990         284        1,301         4.6            6

5. David Wright             1993         229        1,262         5.5            7

6. Vincent Allen             1974         244        1,221         5.0            7

7. Vincent Allen             1973         196        1,066         5.4            9

8. Darrius Gates            2010         188        1,057         5.6           17

9. Tori Vactor                1988         206        1,052         5.1            9

10. Sheraton Fox           1999         228        1,034         4.5            8

Moving Up The Ranks

After just 21 games for his career, sophomore tailback Shakir Bell has moved into the top 5 in Indiana State career rushing history, passing four former Sycamores this past weekend with his 206 yards against Missouri State. Bell passed Jim Brumfield (1,998 -- 1967-69), Darrius Gates (2,010 -- 2006-10), Jake Shields (2,119 -- 2001-04) and Eric Robinson (2,169 -- 1979-82) on Saturday with his third 200-plus rushing game of the 2011 season. The ISU super sophomore will need to wait until next season to break into the top 3, as Derrick Franklin sits 1,049 yards in front of Bell. Vincent Allen (4,335 -- 1973-77) and David Wright (4,181 -- 1992-95) sit atop the Indiana State record books.

Career Rushing Leaders At Indiana State

                                  YEARS      ATT.      YARDS     AVG.        TDs

1. Vincent Allen           1973-77       832        4,335        5.21          31

2. David Wright           1992-95       784        4,181        5.33          22

3. Derrick Franklin       1989-91       710        3,231        4.55          23

4. Shakir Bell         2010-pres.   301        2,182       7.25          15

5. Eric Robinson          1979-82       443        2,169        4.90          22

6. Jake Shields            2001-04       521        2,119        4.07          19

7. Darrius Gates          2006-10       396        2,010        5.08          20

8. Jim Brumfield          1967-69       448        1,998        4.46          23

9. Darrold Clardy         1981-84       355        1,594        4.49          19

10. Tori Vactor            1987-88       312        1,545        4.95          12

Bringing Back Memories Of "The Fridge"

The Sycamores' junior defensive end Ben Obaseki found the end zone for the fifth time in his career on the offensive side of the football when he plunged in from one-yard out midway through the fourth quarter at Illinois State. For the season, Obaseki has scored a total of three offensive touchdowns rushing, reaching the end zone on all three of his offensive rushing attempts this year.

Time Of Possession

ISU led the time of possession battle against Missouri State, the first time this season that the Sycamores have controlled the ball for more time than their opponents. Before this past Saturday, the last time that ISU won the time of possession statistic was last season against South Dakota State on Oct. 30, a span of 12 games.

Archie Second In MVFC Total Tackles, Three Sycamores Featured In The Top Four

Led by juniors Aaron Archie and Jacolby Washington and senior Alex Sewall, the Sycamores have three defenders ranked in the Top 4 of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in total tackles. Archie is second in the conference with 101 tackles (an average of 11.0 per game), while Sewall ranks third with a 98 (10.9 per game) and Washington is fourth with 91 on the season (10.1 per game). Nationally, Archie is 11th, Sewall is 14th and Washington is 22nd.

Moving Up The Ranks (Part II)

Senior quarterback Ronnie Fouch has racked up plenty of yards in his two seasons at Indiana State, currently sitting in fourth place in ISU's career record books with 3,682 yards through the air. Fouch passed Kip Hennelly (3,158 -- 1991-93) this season and currently sits behind Reggie Allen (5,094 -- 1978-81), John Sham (5,139 -- 1986-89) and Jeff Miller (6,448 -- 1982-85) within the record books.

Career Passing Leaders At Indiana State

                                  YEARS    COMP.      ATT.      YARDS      PCT.     TD-INT

1. Jeff Miller                1982-85       555        1,006       6,448        .552        40-33

2. John Sahm              1986-89       341          668        5,139        .496        30-38

3. Reggie Allen            1978-81       367          782        5,094        .469        29-46

4. Ronnie Fouch    2010-pres.   288         492        3,931       .569       35-13

5. Kip Hennelly            1991-93       249          490        3,158        .508        19-27

6. Julian Reese            2001-02       267          499        2,961        .535        20-21

7. Kevin Cox               1993-96       238          528        2,885        .451        20-22

8. Kyle Frondorf          1986-88       208          391        2,778        .532         8-24

9. Blayne Baggett          2005         284          473        2,741        .600        15-13

10. Reilly Murphy        2006-07       212          406        2,514        .522        11-19

Battling It Out

Seniors Justin Hilton and Alex Jones and sophomore Donald Spencer have been battling for the team lead in receptions and receiving yards throughout the season, with all three catching four touchdown passes from Ronnie Fouch this year. Hilton leads the team with 29 catches this season, totaling 489 yards for an average of 16.3 yards per reception. Jones tops the roster with 501 receiving yards on 23 catches, leading the way with a 21.8 yards per reception average. Spencer has tallied 26 catches for 291 yards, averaging 11.2 yards per catch. Both Hilton and Jones have caught scoring passes of over 70 yards this season.

Bell Close To Another Record At Missouri State

Sophomore Shakir Bell carried the ball 39 times for 206 yards and two touchdowns at Missouri State on Saturday, coming close to the school record for single-game rushing attempts of 43 set by Milt Allen against Butler in 1971 and matched by Derrick Franklin against Illinois State in 1990. Bell carried the ball 23 times in the first half and 16 more in second half, chewing up plenty of yardard and time on the clock as the Sycamores picked up the victory. It had been five seasons since an Indiana State running back had carried the ball over 30 times in a game, with the last occurrence coming in the 2006 season by Tony West against Murray State. West carried the ball 31 times as the Sycamores fell 59-40 to the Racers.

All-Time Versus Nationally-Ranked Teams

No. 24 Youngstown State was the first Sycamore opponent from the FCS to be ranked at the time of the contest this season and ISU earned a 37-35 victory over them on September 24 inside Memorial Stadium. With the victory, ISU defeated their first opponent ranked in the Top 25 since taking down No. 19 Western Illinois on Oct. 23, 1999. The Sycamores are 9-73 all-time against FCS nationally-ranked opponents, including a mark of 7-54 against league members that are nationally ranked. Additionally, the Sycamores are 0-6 when they are nationally-ranked, taking on another nationally-ranked opponent.

Nationally Ranked Sycamores Vs. Nationally Ranked Opposition

Nov. 5, 2011      L, 16-27            No. 16 ISU vs. No. 1 NDSU         Memorial Stadium

Oct. 8, 2011       L, 9-23              No. 17 ISU vs.. No. 2 UNI           Cedar Falls, Iowa

Nov. 9, 1996      L, 19-34            No. 21 ISU vs. No. 3 UNI            Memorial Stadium

Nov. 18, 1995    L, 6-27              No. 19 ISU vs. No. 12 EIU          Memorial Stadium

Oct. 14, 1995     L, 10-27            No. 23 ISU vs. No. 18 UNI          Cedar Falls, Iowa

Sept. 9, 1989     L, 10-31            No. 14 ISU vs. No. 10 MSU         Springfield, Mo.

Bell Sets School Record Against Youngstown State; Earns National Honors

Indiana State sophomore running back Shakir Bell was outstanding against Youngstown State and for his efforts was named the Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player Of The Week, The Sports Network Co-Offensive National Player Of The Week and the College Sports Performance Awards National Running Back Of The Week. Bell amassed 256 rushing yards in the contest on 21 attempts, averaging 12.2 yards per carry for the Trees. His 256 rushing yards are the most in a single-game by a Sycamore in the history of the program and marks his second consecutive 200-yard rushing performance. Bell is just the second-ever Sycamore to rush for over 200 yards in consecutive contests. Bell's 256 rushing yards broke the previous record of 253 held by Derrick Franklin against Murray State in 1990. Franklin is also the only other Sycamores to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games back in 1991. Additionally, Bell found the end zone on the ground a total of four times, all in the first half. His four rushing touchdowns in one half is also a new school record. Bell scored on the game's first play from scrimmage on a 62-yard scamper just 18 seconds into the contest. He gave ISU a 14-0 advantage on a 39-yard scoring run just four minutes into the game and tallied a 62-yard touchdown on the ground in the second quarter. He finished off his masterful first half with a 51-yard touchdown rush with 4:03 left in the first half. His 62-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game is the longest rushing play for the Sycamores this season.

Coming Up Next

Indiana State finishes its regular season schedule this afternoon and has hopes of playing in the FCS playing, beginning next Saturday, Nov. 26. Selections will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 20.

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