The Score - Illinois State (9-4) beat Southeast Missouri (9-4) 24-6 in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
Story Line - Redbirds senior James Robinson set career highs with 41 carries and 297 rushing yards and scored the first touchdown of the game, while the Redbirds defense limited mistake-filled Southeast Missouri to two field goals.
Game Ball - With redshirt freshman quarterback Bryce Jefferson making his first career start and Illinois State going conservative, Robinson touched the ball on 42 of the Redbirds' 66 offensive plays. They are 14-2 in his career when he goes over 100 yards, including wins in all three of his 200-yard games.
Key Stats - Robinson played keep-away from the SEMO offense as Illinois State held the ball for 36 minutes, 18 seconds. The Missouri Valley squad also held the Ohio Valley Conference co-champ to a mere 2 of 13 on third down conversions.
The Takeaway - While the Redbirds were supposed to be hampered by offensive injuries, SEMO sat two-year starting quarterback Daniel Santacaterina until midway through the third quarter due to shoulder and foot injuries. He threw two interceptions after relieving Joe Pyle. With the Redhawks focused on the NFL prospect Robinson, Jefferson had a touchdown run and pass.
Up Next - Illinois State next plays at No. 8 seed Central Arkansas (9-3) in the second round Dec. 7 (3 p.m. ET). The Southland co-champion Bears were one of three FCS programs to defeat an FBS opponent (Western Kentucky) this season.