Galesburg, IL - Illinois College had a big day running the football and defeated the Prairie Fire 46-19 in the Homecoming game Saturday afternoon at the Knosher Bowl.
Knox (0-7, 0-6 MWC) drove to the Illinois College 3 yard line on its next possession but couldn't turn the 13-play, 59 yard drive that took over seven minutes off the clock into points, and IC took over on downs.
Illinois College running back Cecil Brimmage broke loose for a 97-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive at the 1:22 mark of the first quarter for a 14-0 advantage.
The Prairie Fire (0-7, 0-6 MWC) got on the board when sophomore quarterback Drew Diaz (Niles, Illinois) rushed for a 6-yard touchdown. Lillibridge connected on the extra point attempt to cut the deficit to 21-7 with 10:53 left in the half.
Illinois College's Matt Newman booted a 27-yard field goal at the 5:48 mark after a Knox fumble for a 24-7 lead. The IC defense then picked off a Diaz pass and turned that miscue into points.
Knox sliced the IC lead to 31-13 with 25 seconds left in the first half on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Diaz to senior wide receiver Clarke Cuthbert (Oak Park, Illinois). Lillibridge missed the PAT and IC maintained an 18 point lead at halftime.
Diaz scored the only points in the third quarter with 12:02 to go on a 3-yard touchdown run to trim the Blueboy advantage to 31-19 after the extra point attempt by Lillibridge sailed wide.
Ryan Jefferson ran for an 11-yard touchdown and added a two-point conversion run with 8:39 to play in the game. He rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with 56 seconds to play and Newman made the extra point attempt to close out the game's scoring.
IC gained 493 total yards of offense, including 312 on the ground – a season high. The Blueboys entered the game averaging 160 rushing yards. Brimmage led the IC with nine carries for 148 yards.
Illinois College quarterback Michael Bates was 17-of-35 passing for 181 yards and he was picked off once by Knox senior defensive back Adam Mize (Wood River, Illinois).
Sophomore tailback Derek Mortensen had 103 yards rushing on 22 carries, the second time he's gone over 100 this season. Diaz ran for 18 yards and completed 17-of-38 passes for 159 yards. He was intercepted twice by IC. Cuthbert had a team-high five receptions and 72 yards.
Junior linebacker Mike Hendrick (Smithton, Illinois) made 18 tackles and sacked Bates twice. He's the leading tackler in the Midwest Conference with 113, an average of 16 a game.