ISU signs Kobe Buffalomeat

Illinois State football recruit Kobe Buffalomeat, center, poses with his parents Paula and Ray Buffalomeat earlier this year.

NORMAL — Kobe Buffalomeat’s 15 minutes of fame turned into a couple months.

The future Illinois State football player enjoyed it, but has turned his attention to becoming a Redbird.

“Everything died down after about a month or two,” said Buffalomeat, who gained national publicity and appeared on a late night talk show for his delightfully unique name after signing a national letter of intent with ISU in February.

“It’s not something a bunch of people get to go through so I just embraced it. I rode the wave as long as I could.”

The 6-foot-7, 280-pound Buffalomeat attended his first Redbird game Saturday at Hancock Stadium with his mother Paula.

“From being up here last night and this morning, already five people have come up to me ‘are you that Buffalomeat kid?” Kobe said. “I’m still recognized up here a lot, but not so much where I’m from.”

Buffalomeat was more of a basketball player at Lawrence (Kansas) High School and did not play football until his senior year.

He is currently attending a community college while going through the greyshirt process. He will enroll at ISU in January, participate in spring practice, likely redshirt for the 2018 season and have four years of eligibility intact after that.

“I’ve got everything lined up. I’m seeing if I can take the classes I want to take,” he said. “I played basketball my whole life so I’m getting my body football right. They wanted me to get bigger. I’m working out pretty much every week day.”

Gibbs excels in return: Christian Gibbs had not caught a pass since Oct. 7 entering ISU’s game against Western Illinois. He sat out two games with a toe injury before playing on a limited basis last week at Youngstown State.

But the senior wide receiver returned with a flourish, hauling in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Jake Kolbe on his first catch and finishing with five receptions for 113 yards.

“Getting back on the field felt awesome. It’s what I love to do,” said Gibbs. “I’m glad I could help the team.”

Offense stalls: ISU managed just 77 yards of second half total offense as a 14-0 halftime lead morphed into a 31-14 loss.

“We had a lot of respect for those running backs,” Western defensive end Khalen Saunders said of James Robinson and Markel Smith. “We knew in order to win the game we had to hold those running backs in check. At the half, we said we’ve got to bow up. Don’t fold, accept the challenge and beat it.”

ISU rushed for 60 yards in the first half and just 28 in the second.

No time for self pity: At 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, ISU could still at least share the conference championship with two wins to close the regular season.

Or, two losses would almost certainly knock the Redbirds out of the FCS playoff picture.

ISU faces No. 10 (and sure to move up) South Dakota State next Saturday on the road before a Nov. 18 home date with No. 2 North Dakota State.

A 7-4 record would put the Redbirds in position for an at-large playoff berth but there would be no guarantees.

Broadnax stays on sideline: The Redbirds chose not to use second string quarterback Malachi Broadnax on Saturday. The redshirt freshmen had seen action as a change of pace quarterback and even saw a few snaps with starter Jake Kolbe also on the field the past two weeks.

“I’m not sure we were getting the look we wanted to run option and do some of the things he does,” ISU coach Brock Spack said. “That’s something to look back on as well.”

Bumps and bruises: ISU defensive tackle Matt McCown saw limited action after suffering a bone bruise last week. Blake Hooper made his first career start in McCown’s place.

The Redbirds also were without long yardage defensive end Tuvone Clark because of injury.

Smith was down on the field for several minutes after absorbing a hard hit while returning a kickoff. He will be examined for a possible concussion.

Redbird pros on hand: Former ISU players Cameron Lee and BJ Bello both attended Saturday’s game.

Bello plays for Cleveland and Lee is on Chicago’s practice squad. Both the Browns and Bears were on their bye week.

Follow Randy Reinhardt on Twitter: @Pg_Reinhardt

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Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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