IC Football Chops Down the Foresters, 49-6

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JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Starting strong with two first quarter touchdown drives and an interception return for a touchdown by Dinari Ellis, the Illinois College football team scored a decisive 49-6 victory over visiting Lake Forest College on Saturday from England Stadium. The Blueboys improve to 5-2 (3-0 Midwest Conference South Division) with the win, inching closer to a possible division title.

It was another historic afternoon for quarterback Michael Bates. The senior became the first Illinois College player to throw for 10,000 yards in his career with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Heaton in the fourth quarter, putting an exclamation point on his five-touchdown, 318-yard day.

Before all that would happen, the defense would step up in a big way to give the team a lift. Forcing Lake Forest to punt from inside its own territory on its first drive, Illinois College would take the field for its second drive of the contest from its own 35. Marching down inside the Lake Forest 30-yard line, the Blueboys converted on a third-and-three with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Bates to Logan Uyetake to take a 7-0 lead.

Lake Forest took over at its own 35 after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds. Anthoney Prestly dropped back to pass on the first play of the drive, only for Ellis to bolt in front of the intended receiver and make the pick. Weaving his way through the chaos, Ellis found a seam and took his return 41 yards for IC's second defensive score of the season.

Ellis wasn't done yet. With Lake Forest facing a third-and-long on its next drive, Prestly floated a ball downfield. There, Ellis made a leaping grab to deny the Foresters of a long gain for his second interception of the game.

Taking over in great field position, a 22-yard connection from Bates to Uyetake on third-and-long sparked the Blueboys to another touchdown. The final eight yards went from Bates to Heaton on the seven-play, 59-yard drive for a 21-0 edge.

About the only highlight Lake Forest managed on the afternoon came late in the first quarter. After a facemask call on IC gave the Foresters a first down near midfield, Charlie Quinn burst up the middle into daylight for a 49-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt hit the upright, but IC's lead was momentarily cut to 21-6.

It didn't take long for Illinois College to answer back. On a fourth down from the Lake Forest 31, Bates completed an out route to Heaton for 12 yards, moving the Blueboys inside the red zone. The very next play, Bates and Heaton connected again from 19 yards for Heaton's second touchdown of the day.

The explosive offense of Illinois College was bottled up by Lake Forest for much of the remainder of the second quarter, until two penalties from the Foresters helped the Blueboys cover 80 yards in less than a minute and cash in one more touchdown before halftime. Taking over from their 20-yard line with less than a minute remaining, the Blueboys at first didn't seem to have much interest in testing out their two-minute drill. A short pass from Bates to Tyler Hamm went for four yards and Bates followed that with a scramble of eight yards to move the chains. But after Bates went for 16 more yards on another scramble, Lake Forest's Pat Clark was penalized for back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, advancing IC to the Lake Forest 22-yard line. With eight seconds left in the opening half, Bates lofted a ball to the end zone for Kyle Obertino, who outmuscled a defender and hauled in the touchdown pass to take a 35-6 lead at the break.

The third quarter flew by with no scoring as Lake Forest held possession for more than seven minutes on its opening drive, only to miss a field goal attempt from 39 yards out. The quarter ended with Illinois College moving the ball downfield and Bates in pursuit of 10,000 passing yards. After completing two straight passes to Uyetake for a total of 18 yards, Bates was within one yard of the milestone and the Blueboys had a first-and-goal from the Forester 10-yard line. One play later, Bates threw back-shoulder to Heaton for the touchdown that capped his afternoon of work.

Much of the fourth quarter was a chance for some of the IC backups to get a chance to shine. Brady Huber stepped in for Bates behind center and ran for 19 yards on three punishing runs, plus hit Uyetake with a 21-yard touchdown pass to give IC its final touchdown of the game. Also impressing in the backfield was Greg Cross, who showed blazing speed with a 19-yard gallop late in the contest.

The Illinois College offense outgained Lake Forest, 504-204, for the day. Bates accounted for 318 of those yards through the air, with Uyetake on the receiving end for 117 of them. Heaton added 99 yards and his three touchdown snares. Bates led the Blueboys on the ground as well, rushing for 55 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, James Dambacher again was all over the field for IC. The senior had nine tackles, including 4.5 for a loss. Dylan Schluer and Matt Graef added six tackles apiece, each with one for a loss. Dylan Ringhausen had a game-high 1.5 sacks.

Illinois College ventures out for its final regular season road game next weekend at Knox College. The Blueboys and Prairie Fire will meet in Galesburg, Ill. on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.

Dec. 15: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
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Dec. 15: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Mount Union at Mary Hardin-Baylor
@ Salem, Va.
Preview Preview Live stats Audio