SETTING THE STAGE
The fifth season of the Trent Miles era continues on Saturday, November 17, as the No. 18/19 Sycamores play their final regular season game against Youngstown State. Saturday's game is set for a 2:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium (20,630). The game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPN 3 with Chad Krispinsky (pbp) and Dave Sess (color) on the call. The game will also air live on WIBQ (98.5 FM), with Brian Fritz and Tom James calling the action for the Nelligan Sports Marketing Radio Network. Action can be heard live worldwide on GoSycamores.com.
THE YOUNGSTOWN STATE SERIES
Youngstown State holds a 19-3 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1987, including an edge of 8-2 in games played in Youngstown, Ohio. The Sycamores have won each of the last two games in the series, which marks the first time ISU has taken back-to-back victories versus the Penguins.
INDIANA STATE: Trent Miles (Indiana State ‘87)
- Overall: 20-35 (5th Season)
- at Indiana State: 20-35 (5th Season)
- vs. YSU: 2-2
- vs. Missouri Valley Football Conference: 14-25
YOUNGSTOWN STATE: Eric Wolford (Kansas State, ‘94)
- Overall: 15-17 (Third Season)
- at YSU: 15-17 (Third Season)
- vs. Indiana State: 0-2
- vs. Missouri Valley Football Conference: 8-15
- Indiana State enjoyed a five-game winning streak for first time since 1996 by defeating Southern Illinois, Missouri State, No. 1 North Dakota State, Western Illinois and South Dakota in succession. Three of those victories (SIU, NDSU, and WIU) came on the road. The Sycamores are 5-2 in league play for the first time ever.
- Indiana State has risen to as high as No. 14 in the national polls this season, which is tied for the highest for the Sycamores since joining the MVFC and the highest in the Trent Miles era.
- Junior tailback Shakir Bell enter Saturday's game with 1,421 yards on the season, just 189 yards behind his school record 1,610 rushing yards which was set last season.
An Indiana State Win Over Youngstown State Would ...
• Give Indiana State a 6-2 record in MVFC play for the first time ever and also would mark the first time that the Sycamores have ever recorded six MVFC victories in a single-season.
• Give Indiana State an 8-3 record, its best in the regular season since a 9-2 finish in 1984.
• Give the Sycamores three consecutive victories over Youngstown State for the first time in the 22-game history of the series.
• Extend the Sycamores' school-record road MVFC winning streak to five games and give ISU a perfect 4-0 record this season in road league games.
The Indiana State Head Coach
Indiana State head coach Trent Miles (Indiana State, 1987) is 20-35 (.364) overall in his fifth season as a head coach, all with the Sycamores. He is 14-25 all-time in MVFC games, including an 8-12 mark at home and a 6-13 mark on the road. During his career, he is 13-15 in all home games, 7-20 on the road and 4-3 in games decided by three points or less. Miles is 2-2 all-time against Youngstown State, and is 1-1 against the Penguins on the road. With the Trees, Miles is 1-2 in overtime games, and 1-5 in shutouts. Saturday's game is Trent Miles' 56th as Indiana State head coach.
The Youngstown State Head Coach
Youngstown State is led by third-year head coach Eric Wolford, who is 15-17 at the helm of the Penguin football program. Wolford owns an 0-2 record against Indiana State, including an 0-1 mark inside Stambaugh Stadium against YSU.
Scouting The Penguins
Youngstown State has won two games in a row to improve their record to 6-4 on the season, including a mark of 3-4 in Missouri Valley Football Conference play. Kurt Hess is the Youngstown State quarterback and has tied a school record with 51 career touchdown passes. The Penguins have scored a touchdown in the first quarter of all 10 games this season. Defensively, Youngstown State has registered 13 quarterback sacks in the past four games, with defensive tackle Nick DeKraker posting sacks in each of the last four games.
A Little History
This marks the 108th 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 358-477-22 and is competing for the 27th consecutive season as a member of the MVFC.
The Youngstown State game is being televised nationally by ESPN 3 as a production of the Penguins institutional broadcast network. Fans must subscribe to an internet or television service which has partnered with ESPN to access the broadcast free of charge at WatchESPN.com. ESPN 3 is free on college campuses and military bases worldwide. Those who are eligible may also access the broadcast on their smartphone on tablet using the Watch ESPN app.
Why The Win Over North Dakota State Is High On The Indiana State List Of Program Achievements
Indiana State's 17-14 road victory over No. 1 North Dakota State was monumental in several ways for the Sycamores. It was the first-ever victory by an Indiana State football team over a program that was ranked first in the nation at the time of the contest in eight tries. It also marked the first victory for the Sycamores against a team ranked in the Top 5 nationally at the time of the game in 20 attempts. It was also the third consecutive road victory in MVFC play which is the longest such streak of success away from Memorial Stadium in conference action ever by the Sycamore program. The victory also broke a string of 10 consecutive wins for the Bison, who captured the FCS National Championship in 2011. Indiana State is the only team to defeat North Dakota State this season, and the Sycamores won the game in front of a sold out crowd at Fargodome. North Dakota State, which has spent nearly the entire season in the No. 1 spot in the nation in both national polls owns victories this season over Robert Morris, at FBS Colorado State, Prairie View A&M, at No. 14 Northern Iowa, No. 3 Youngstown State, at South Dakota, Southern Illinois, at Missouri State and at home against No. 16 South Dakota State on November 17. The Bison's only loss this season is to Indiana State.
Defense Ranks High Nationally In Points Allowed Per Game
The Sycamore defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing just 130 points over the first 10 games, including the program's first shutout since 1996 with the 44-0 victory over Quincy on September 8. ISU has allowed just 10 offensive touchdowns to the opposition in the last 38 quarters of action. ISU's defense is allowing an average of 13.00 points per game which ranks second in the MVFC and nationally. Indiana State leads the conference in pass efficiency defense with a 93.64 rating. The Sycamores are allowing 286.6 yards per game which is second in the league and sixth-best in FCS. ISU is also giving up just 159.3 passing yards per game which is second in the league and eighth-best nationally.
Sycamores Setting Records For No. 8 Ranking In The GridIron Power Index
Indiana State is ranked No. 8 in the latest GridIron Index, the leading indicator of a team's standing in the FCS ranks. The Sycamores have steadily climbed the GPI all season long, reaching a high of No. 5 on October 29. ISU's No. 5 ranking earlier in the season is the highest that the program has been ranked since the GPI national rankings were introduced in 2008.
Shakir Bell Becomes Quickest To 1,000 Rushing Yards At Indiana State (Again!)
Indiana State junior Shakir Bell went over the 1,000 rushing yard mark for the season in just the seventh game as he put up 96 yards on the ground as the Sycamores downed No. 1 North Dakota State in front of a near capacity crowd at the Fargodome 17-14. Bell rushed 26 times in the game for 96 yards as he broke his own school record set last year for being the fastest Sycamore to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season. Bell now has 3,740 yards for his career which is third on ISU's all-time list. Bell is averaging 142.1 rushing yards per game which is second in the MVFC and fifth nationally. Bell has reached 100 yards rushing in 18 of his 31 career games. Vincent Allen (4,335 yards from 1973-77) and David Wright (4,181 yards from 1992-95) are the only two players to sit ahead of Bell on the ISU all-time career rushing list.
Bell Sets MVFC & ISU Rushing Records In Victory Over Drake
Indiana State junior running back Shakir Bell etched his name in both the Missouri Valley Football Conference and Indiana State record books yet again on September 15 when he gained 349 yards on the ground to set both the school and conference single-game rushing record against Drake. For his efforts, Bell was named both the MVFC Offensive Player Of The Week and The Sports Network National Offensive Player Of The Week. His 349-yard rushing effort is the highest single-game total so far this season for both FBS and FCS and is the eighth-highest total ever in FCS history. Evan Borchers Was Named The MVFC Offensive Lineman Of The Week following Bell's performance against Drake.
Sycamores' No. 14 National Ranking Is Highest Under Miles And As A MVFC Member
Following the 45-14 victory for Indiana State over South Dakota on October 27, the Sycamores were ranked in each of the national polls heading into its matchup against Illinois State, who likewise was ranked in each poll. The Sycamores were No. 14 in The Sports Network Top 25 while they were No. 17 in the FCS Coaches Poll. The No. 14 national ranking for the Sycamores was tied for the highest in program history since joining the MVFC. ISU was No. 14 in both 1989 & 1995. The Sycamores were ranked as high as No. 1 in 1984 -- the last time the program advanced to the FCS Playoffs. The No. 14 ranking was the highest for the Sycamores in the Trent Miles era.
Indiana State Currently On A Four-Game Road MVFC Winning Streak (Undefeated In 2012)
Indiana State is undefeated in 2012 on the road in Missouri Valley Football Conference play, owning victories over Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and No. 1 North Dakota State. ISU also won its final road league game in 2011 at Missouri State, giving the Sycamores a four-game road MVFC winning streak heading into the regular season finale at Youngstown State on November 17. ISU's four-game road winning streak is the longest in program history and the Sycamores are looking for their first-ever undefeated record on the road in league play, when they attempt to make it a perfect 4-0 this weekend at Youngstown.
Special Forces Unit Making Their Mark Nationally
The Sycamores are averaging 38.93 yards per net punt, which is tops in the league and fifth nationally. Special Forces also ranks sixth nationally and second in the league in kickoff return average, boasting a 25.04 tally per opportunity. Hileman is averaging a league-best 43.77 yards per punt, a total which is eighth best nationally.
Sycamore Winning Streak Hit Five In A Row
The Sycamores won five consecutive games - a stretch that included three road league wins - and are 5-2 for the first time ever in Missouri Valley Football Conference play and have won five games in league action consecutively for the first time ever with their stretch of success from Sept. 29 until Oct. 27. The Sycamores' 31-point victory over South Dakota is the second largest victory over a league opponent behind a 35-point win against Illinois State in 2010. ISU is 7-3 for the first time since 1995 and are just two victories shy of tying the school record for most victories in a season (9), set in 1984.
Indiana State Has Already Secured Third Consecutive Winning Season
The Indiana State Sycamores are 7-3 overall record and 5-2 in Missouri Valley Football Conference play heading into the final week of the regular season. The Sycamores have already secured their third consecutive winning campaign which would is the first time ISU has enjoyed that many winning seasons in a row since the 1967-69 years under Jerry Huntsman when ISU posted six consecutive winning seasons.
Finishing The Games Strong
The Indiana State Sycamores have put together a total of 38 offensive scoring drives through 10 games this season. Of those, 24 have come after an opponent's final score -- good enough for 63.2 percent of all scoring drives. The Sycamores have outscored their opponents by a 116-80 margin in the second half this season, including a 64-29 advantage in the fourth quarter. The Sycamores improved to a perfect 7-0 this season when leading heading into the fourth quarter as they made a 38-7 lead standup with the victory over South Dakota.
Johnny Towalid Has Historic Outing Against North Dakota State
Towalid was named the Co-National Defensive Player Of The Week By The Sports Network and was The National Defensive Performer Of The Week & National Defensive Back Of The Week as announced the College Football Performance Awards. He also was named a College Sporting News National All-Star. Towalid set an Indiana State school record with two interception returns for a touchdown as the Sycamores took down No. 1 North Dakota State on the road in ISU's first-ever victory over a nationally top-ranked program. His pair of pick 6's tied the league and FCS record for a single-game. He is one of just 24 players all-time to record two interception returns for a touchdown in one game in the history of FCS football. He scored both of the Sycamores' touchdowns at NDSU, including one in the second quarter of 27 yards to give ISU a 10-3 lead and then added another in the third quarter of 31 yards to stake the Sycamores to a 17-6 advantage. His first interception broke a string of 140 passes off the arm of Bison quarterback Brock Jensen without a pick. He is just the second-ever MVFC player to record two interception returns for a touchdown in the same game.
Johnny Towalid Now Owns School Record For Most Interceptions Returns For A TD In A Season & Career
Indiana State senior cornerback Johnny Towalid recorded his third interception return for a touchdown this season with a 25-yarder in the first quarter of the 45-14 victory over South Dakota. His trio of pick 6's is a new school record, besting the old standard set in 1971 by John Karazsia. Additionally, it was the fourth for Towalid in his career, which is also a new school record which beats Karazsia's three from 1970-72. Towalid had a 78-yard return for a TD at South Dakota State last season and posted two in one game at North Dakota State on October 13. The Sycamores have four interception returns for a touchdown this season - a new school record.
Shakir Bell Named To Walter Payton Award Watch List
Indiana State junior running back Shakir Bell is among 20 student-athletes selected by The Sports Network for the publication's 2012 Walter Payton Award Watch List. The Walter Payton Award is presented following the season to the nation's most outstanding player at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Bell tied for second for the prestigious award following his standout sophomore season, a year that saw the Indianapolis, Ind., native led the nation with 1,670 rushing yards. The Warren Central High School product was named to the FCS Preseason All-America First Team by The Sports Network earlier this week. Bell averaged 151.8 yards per game on the ground and broke the school record for single-game rushing yards last season when he racked up 256 yards and four touchdowns in Indiana State's 37-35 win over Youngstown State on Sept. 24, 2011. The 2011 Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year tallied 14 touchdowns in 2011, breaking the school record for single-season rushing yards (1,670) and posted the eighth-best total in MVFC history.
Ben Obaseki Named To Buck Buchanan Award Watch List
Indiana State senior defensive lineman Ben Obaseki is one of 20 players nationally to be named to the 2012 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List as announced by The Sports Network. The Buck Buchanan Award is awarded annually at the FCS Awards Banquet during NCAA FCS Championship weekend to the nation's top FCS defensive player. Earlier this month, Shakir Bell was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List, which goes to the top offensive player in FCS. Bell finished tied for second in last season's voting as a sophomore. Last season, Obaseki was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press and was a First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference performer. He finished third in the league's Defensive Player of the Year voting after leading the Sycamores with 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, which tied for second and third in the MVFC, respectively, in those categories. He posted 22 total tackles against Western Illinois on October 15 which is the most by a defensive lineman in the history of the MVFC. Obaseki also plays fullback in goal line situations as he scored five touchdowns last season on five rushing attempts. Obaseki was also a First Team All-MVFC performer as sophomore in 2010.
Bringing Back Memories Of "The Fridge"
The Sycamores' senior defensive end Ben Obaseki found the end zone for the seventh time of his career on the offensive side of the football when he plunged in from one yard out in the 2012 home opener against Quincy. Obaseki has seven career rushes to his credit - all leading to Sycamore touchdowns.
Sycamores Against The Missouri Valley Football Conference
Indiana State is in its 27th season as a member of the MVFC. ISU's first season as a league member came in 1986 when it went 1-5 through a six-game league schedule. The Sycamores are 51-117 in MVFC contests and have won 12 of their last 21 league matchups, marking the first time since the 2002 season that an ISU team has won multiple league contests over a similar stretch.
FN Lutz Nominated For 2012 All-State AFCA Good Works Team
Indiana State senior offensive lineman FN Lutz is one of 117 nominees nationwide for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team as announced today by the national coaches' organization. In 2011, Lutz was named both First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference as well as First Team MVFC All-Academic following a season that saw him start all 11 games at center. He spearheaded an Indiana State rushing attack that averaging 181.9 yards per game as well as a league-leading 5.3 yards per carry. He was an Honorable Mention All-MVFC pick in 2010 as a sophomore. Lutz is joined by Colton Underwood of Illinois State, Billy Turner of North Dakota State, Bo Helm of South Dakota State and Kyle Bernard of Northern Iowa as representatives of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. As one of college football's most prestigious off-the-field honors, the award recognizes a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities. Since 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has shown a spotlight on the countless "good works" and remarkable stories of service by student-athletes at all levels of college football competition. Award recipients represent the sport's finest in terms of character and leadership in the community.
The Sycamores have played in 12 overtime contests since the rule was established for regular season games in the NCAA FCS Subdivision in 1996. The Sycamores are 7-5 in games that have used an extra period. ISU's last overtime contest came in the form of a 38-35 victory against Missouri State in the sixth game of the 2010 season.
With a victory at Youngstown State, the Sycamores will become eligible for selection into the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the first time since 1984. The FCS Selection Show will air live at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN U.