NORMAL — Shelby Harris thrust his right arm into the air at approximately 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, blocking a Los Angeles Chargers field goal attempt and preserving a three-point win for the Denver Broncos.
Harris’ college coach, Illinois State’s Brock Spack, had been in bed for hours. Yet when Spack awoke he was quickly made aware through social media of Harris’ exploits, which immediately transported Spack to 2012.
“It was very familiar,” Spack said. “It’s a really cool memory. That was really a cool win going over there.”
Spack was referring to Appalachian State where the Redbirds secured the first playoff victory under Spack over a favored opponent in Boone, N.C.
ISU had scored a touchdown in overtime to forge ahead 38-31. The Mountaineers had countered with a touchdown only to have Harris block the extra point to apply a sudden and unlikely exclamation point to a 38-37 Redbird win.
“You’re just like, ‘Man, we just won the game. I think we just won the game,’ ” Harris told the Denver Post. “And then when everyone starts going crazy, it’s like, ‘I just won the game.’ … It feels great to do anything to help the team win. It’s not about the individual glory.”
Harris started on the defensive line for the Broncos and recorded two tackles.
The Denver game also lasted too long for Harris’ position coach at ISU, defensive coordinator Spence Nowinsky, to watch the block live.
But Nowinsky can thank his wife, Jen, for taping the game. The entire Nowinsky family watched the Harris play before heading off to work and school.
“We were all sitting on the bed cheering like we were watching it live,” said Nowinsky, who said the play reminded him of the Appalachian State game “instantly. It was pretty cool actually.”
Two other former Redbirds saw action on the NFL’s first weekend.
Linebacker BJ Bello was activated off the Cleveland practice squad shortly before the game and recorded his first pro tackle on a punt. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy caught one pass for 18 yards and had one tackle for Jacksonville.
Linebacker Nate Palmer was a game-day inactive for Tennessee.
More bodies: ISU meets Eastern Illinois in the Mid-America Classic on Saturday in a 2 p.m. game at Charleston. With a predicted high temperature of 87 degrees, Spack will have a few extra bodies on the bus.
“I think I’ll take a couple extra guys because of the heat and guys deserve it,” Spack said. “I want to reward some guys who may not be able to go later on. I want to give them the opportunity to travel.”
The roster limit is 60 for Missouri Valley Football Conference games but because this is a nonconference game, there is no limit. Spack said he will take no more than 70 players.
Bounds out: Prairie Central product Addison Bounds, a senior tight end for Eastern, suffered a broken thumb in the team’s opening win over Indiana State on Aug. 31 and is unlikely to play Saturday.
“I will probably not be able to participate unfortunately. Hopefully after this game, I’ll be able to cut the cast down (and return to action),” said Bounds, who caught 20 passes for 188 yards last season. “Last year (a 24-21 Panthers win) was a great game, and we’re hoping to keep the trophy here.”
Galindo questionable: Austin Galindo, a redshirt freshman out of University High, is questionable for Saturday because of an ankle injury. Galindo is a second-string defensive tackle for the Redbirds.