TERRE HAUTE —
When it came to Indiana State’s football game against Quincy on Saturday, it was best to take the over — and it has nothing to do with wagering.
Quincy was overmatched, overwhelmed and overcome quickly.
When it was finally over, 23rd-ranked ISU had an easy 44-0 victory over the Division II Hawks in front of 6,294 at Memorial Stadium. It was ISU’s first shutout since 1996 when Mars Hill was blanked.
“I was praying. I wanted that goose egg on the board and we got it. It looked really good up there,” said ISU running back George Cheeseborough, who rushed for a team-high 72 yards.
The final score flattered the Hawks who were down 37-0 at halftime. The Sycamores (1-1) took it easy on Quincy as ISU played reserves for much of the second half.
ISU’s defense never eased up. Quincy was held to 114 total yards and managed just nine first downs — and three were gained via penalty. Quincy’s passing game was completely stifled. The Hawks completed just 3 of 22 attempts for 41 yards. Quincy also couldn’t keep the clock moving with its running game as it gained just 73 yards.
“We felt embarrassed about last week’s game. We felt we could’ve played better. We wanted to dominate this game,” said ISU linebacker Aaron Archie, who led the Sycamores with 10 tackles and who was a 6-year-old the last time the Sycamores posted a shutout.
Not to be overlooked in ISU’s defensive effort was kicker Tanner Fritschle. The sophomore consistently got the ball to the end zone or goal line on his kickoffs, and as a result, Quincy started the game pinned deep in its own territory and never got into rhythm.
Fritschle was also accurate with his placekicks. He converted field goals of 35, 25 and 23 yards. His performance follows a strong one at Indiana on Sept. 1 and both games have gone a long way towards answering questions ISU had going into the season regarding its kicking game.
“It’s weird. The more I play, the slower it gets,” said Fritschle, who said he’s more relaxed. “Even though the players are faster, the game slows down, I can clear my head and get into the routines I do on every kick.”
ISU’s offense piled up 427 yards of total offense. Quarterback Mike Perish completed 10 of 16 passes for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Running back Shakir Bell was held to 69 yards on 19 carries, but he had backfield teammates pick up the slack.
In addition to Cheeseborough’s 72 rushing yards, reserves Richie Dyer (47 yards) and Foluke Gordon-Lamar (47) also ran effectively.
The blowout gave ISU a chance to give its second team roughly a quarter-and-a-half of game action. ISU coach Trent Miles pointed out a few reserve standouts. Cheeseborough, Dyer, Gordon-Lamar, tight end Myles Walker (the former basketball center caught his first pass), linebacker Kendall Walker, defensive lineman Conrrad Nicholls, cornerback Alex Stowers and cornerback Andre Strohm were all cited.
“I’m anxious to see the film. There were a lot of guys who played and you can’t watch them all at the same time. I’m anxious to see how some of those men did when the heat of the moment was on. I can’t wait to watch that,” Miles said.
Quincy provided ISU a contest in name only. The Sycamores scored on their first drive, converting a pair of third-down passes to set up Bell’s 12-yard touchdown run.
On ISU’s second drive, Quincy bit on play-action, and Perish found tight end Michael Mardis wide-open over the middle for a 43-yard touchdown. Defensive end Ben Obaseki, in his part-time role as goal line fullback, plunged in from a yard out on ISU’s third touchdown late in the first period to make it 21-0.
Quincy didn’t gain a first down until its fifth series of the game in the second quarter. ISU kept piling up the points. All three of Fritschle’s field goals were in the second quarter and Perish also found Demory Lawshe on a post pattern over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown.
ISU’s only score in the second half came via a 4-yard Dyer run. It was Dyer’s first career touchdown.
ISU continues its homestand next Saturday as Drake visits. Drake, once a football member of the Missouri Valley Conference with ISU in the 1980s, plays non-scholarship Division I football in the Pioneer League.