The Illinois State Redbirds (0-1) will head to the UNI Dome to take on the Northern Iowa Panthers (1-1) on Saturday.
Note: Heavy may earn an affiliate commission if you sign up via a link on this page
The game (5 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV, but anyone in the US can watch Illinois State vs Northern Iowa football live on ESPN+ right here:
ESPN+ will have coverage of all Missouri Valley, OVC, Southern and Southland football games this spring, as well as live college basketball, UFC, international soccer, Australian Open tennis, dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary, and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch Illinois State vs Northern Iowa live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Illinois State vs Northern Iowa Preview
The Redbirds are coming off a game they’d rather forget. After taking a 17-0 lead over South Dakota last week, Illinois State saw its lead ultimately disappear in a sea of turnovers. They eventually lost the game, 27-20, and the seven turnovers they committed was a primary reason for it.
“We had control of the game, up 17-0, and then the bottom fell out with all the turnovers and you’ve gotta take care of the ball. We didn’t do that very well and it added up to a loss,” Illinois State head coach Brock Spack said after the loss.
Redbirds quarterback Bryce Jefferson struggled all game with his accuracy, going 15-33 for 280 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions. He also fumbled twice, noting after the game that he was overwhelmed by South Dakota’s second half surge.
“Coming out of halftime they started to bring a lot more pressure than they did in the first half so decisions had to be made faster and again we beat ourselves. I thought we had way too many turnovers, if you take away those turnovers we beat those guys by a lot,” Jefferson said.
He won’t have an easier go this week, as he’ll be facing a Panthers team fresh from a 21-0 shutout of Youngstown State last weekend. Northern Iowa lost its first game of the year to South Dakota State, 24-20, and it followed the loss up with an excellent defensive performance.
“We had to hang our hat on who we are,” UNI head coach Mark Farley said after the win. “That’s basically what UNI defense is. We had to get back to fundamentals … winning the line of scrimmage.”
Panthers quarterback Will McElvain went 15-30 for 183 yards and an interception in the win, and he didn’t do much in the passing game, but Northern Iowa managed to get enough going on the ground to make up for it. The Panthers had 191 yards on 43 carries, and the defense did its part as well, giving up just 71 yards on the ground and 64 through the air.
“What we did today with the rushing game is how you win games on the road,” Farley added. They’ll likely need more than 17 points against Illinois State, however, so a better offensive showing will be necessary.