ISU looks to improve third quarter offense

2010-10-12T23:43:00Z 2010-10-13T16:48:04Z ISU looks to improve third quarter offenseBy Randy Reinhardt | rreinhardt@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

NORMAL -- The halftime break is breaking up the momentum of Illinois State's offense.

And the Redbirds are having trouble getting it back in time to prevent second-half difficulties.

"We've been a horrible third quarter team offensively. That's been a pattern," said ISU coach Brock Spack. "We've addressed that with them. When you come out of the locker room, you've got to be ready to play."

The Redbirds, who meet North Dakota State in a 2 p.m. homecoming game Saturday at Hancock Stadium, have scored 114 first-half points over six games and just 43 in the third and fourth quarters.

"The third quarter has been our downfall," reserve quarterback Matt Lancaster said. "This week we're going to prove it's not our downfall and the second half is when we thrive and win the game. It's our own mental toughness. We can't be satisfied with the first-half results."

ISU has been outscored 36-24 in the third quarter and 61-19 in the fourth.

"As coaches, we can get them out earlier, get them off their chairs and get them warmed up," said Spack. "We have not taken the field with the same type of enthusiasm and intensity in the third quarter as the first half."

Spack dismisses the notion ISU has not made the proper halftime adjustments.

"I think we've made very good adjustments at halftime," he said. "It's not schematics as much as intensity."

Lancaster No. 2: Spack said Tuesday that Lancaster has moved ahead of junior Drew Kiel to claim the No. 2 quarterback job behind starter Matt Brown.

Lancaster rushed five times for 29 yards and completed one pass for five yards in last week's loss to Indiana State while directing a wildcat-type formation with Brown lining up wide as a receiver.

"He changes the game and changes how people play us because of what he can do," said Spack. "It is hard to defend, no doubt. We're really starting to get him involved with our offense."

Lancaster called it "a nice new wrinkle for our offense. If we do it, I have to execute it and so does the rest of our offense. I have to be prepared to play regular quarterback, too."

Brown moving up: Just six games into his sophomore season, Brown is already climbing the charts on ISU's career passing lists.

Brown, whose current 63.6 percent completion rate is tops in school history, is sixth in career completions (341), passing yards (3,749) and touchdown passes (21).

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