Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Valley Football
Illinois State-Eastern Illinois to Play Game 100

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The college football rivalry between Illinois State and Eastern Illinois will have a bit more significance in 2011, as the two in-state foes will meet for the 100th time in the 110 year series.  To commemorate the milestone, the rivalry was officially re-branded as the Mid-America Classic and a traveling trophy was unveiled, Tuesday, at a joint press conference held at the Eastland Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Urbana, Ill.

The rivalry between the two schools began in 1901 and is the oldest in the state of Illinois.  The two teams have played 99 times in total, with Illinois State holding a 51-39-9 advantage in the all-time series.  With the 100th game in the series on the horizon, representatives from both schools met in the spring and developed the Mid-America Classic re-naming for the rivalry.  The two schools also collaborated on a traveling trophy, which holds plaques with the results of the previous 99 games in the series and has room for results of future games in the series.

ISU head coach Brock Spack is no stranger to the rivalry, having coached it the game from both sides of the field.  Spack was a member of Eastern Illinois head coach Bob Spoo’s first staff at Eastern Illinois from 1987-90.  Over 20 years later, Spack is now the head coach of the Redbirds and has gone 1-1 against his former mentor in his two seasons at the helm of the ISU program.

“This game is a very special one to both schools and I have been fortunate enough to be on both sides of the ball so to speak,” Spack said.  “I know the importance both schools place on this football game and we feel blessed to be a part of the 100th game in the series this September.  It’s a thrill for me to take the field against one of my mentors in this business in coach Spoo, and it’s a great opportunity for everyone involved in this game.  I think the trophy was the one thing this rivalry was missing, and I’m sure it will bring a little more excitement to the game.”

The 100th game will be played Thursday, Sept. 1, in Charleston, Ill., at O’Brien Field.  That game will be telecast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Illinois State alum and WGN sports anchor Dan Roan will handle the play-by-play duties for the broadcast, with Eastern Illinois alum and ESPN Radio 1000 personality John Jurkovic providing color commentary.