NORMAL, Ill. -- Matt Brown threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns, including a 26-yarder to Corey Shandrick with 2:22 remaining, as Illinois State defeated Central Missouri 55-54 Thursday night.
The touchdown made the score 54-53 Central Missouri, and after an offside penalty on the extra point, the Redbirds (1-0) went for a 2-point conversion with Ashton Leggett providing the winning points.
Ben Ericksen returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown for Illinois State. The Mules (0-1), a Division II school, trailed 40-24 at the half but tied it at 47 on Eric Czerniewski's fifth touchdown pass, a 19-yarder to Brent Boehringer in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
The Mules went ahead 54-47 on Anthony Stewart's 2-yard run with 4:15 to play, but Illinois State went 78 yards in just six plays to retake the lead.
Czerniewski finished 39 of 61 for 493 yards and two interceptions.