NORMAL — Sophomore tailback Jordan Birch is no longer a member of the Illinois State football team, Redbird coach Brock Spack said Tuesday.
Birch was ISU’s third leading rusher with 86 yards on 14 carries. The No. 9-ranked Redbirds are home Saturday at noon to face No. 7 South Dakota State.
“He didn’t show up for practice Friday,” Spack said. “He was dropped from the roster Sunday.”
Birch, who also had four receptions for 36 yards, did not accompany the team to North Dakota State for last Saturday’s game.
“He didn’t talk to anybody. We heard he quit so we moved on,” said Spack. “You hear from the grapevine.”
An attempt to reach Birch for comment Tuesday was unsuccessful.
Senior Nick Kielbasa moves up to third string tailback behind James Robinson and Markel Smith. Kielbasa has 48 yards on the ground in 13 attempts.
True freshman Brian Adams also could be used at tailback the rest of the season, according to Spack.
Ridgeway progressing: John Ridgeway, a redshirt freshman nose tackle from Bloomington, matched a career-high with six tackles in last week’s loss at North Dakota State.
“He played pretty well and played against a really good player,” Spack said of Bison center Tanner Volson. “He’s the best athlete we’ve seen at center. He’s a big, fifth-year senior. For a redshirt freshman, I thought John did a really good job.”
Georgie sidelined: Reserve defensive tackle Trey Georgie will miss the South Dakota State game with an ankle injury. A converted offensive lineman, Georgie has 10 tackles on the season.
“The ankle will take some time,” said Spack. “We’ve got (Steven) Podkulski back, and he’s playing more. I would love to have them both, but we should be fine.”
Big Ten atmosphere: Guard Gabe Megginson, who played in 22 games and started 11 the past two seasons at Illinois before transferring to ISU, said the North Dakota State defense was “definitely just as disciplined as any Big Ten team we’ve faced.
"It shows they’re a big-time program and are going to be that way for awhile. They would definitely be one of the better teams in the Big Ten West.”
Megginson said the Fargodome atmosphere reminded him of Iowa. “There’s no professional team (in the state) and everybody is there Saturday packing the stands,” he said.
Around the Valley: Indiana State’s Ja’Quan Keys, the MVFC’s top rusher at 948 yards, will miss the rest of the season with a hip injury, the Sycamores announced Tuesday.
ISU travels to Indiana State for a Nov. 10 game.