YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Joe Alessi ran for 103 yards and the Youngstown State defense shut down Illinois State for a 21-3 upset over the FCS seventh-ranked Redbirds on Saturday.
Penguins coach Bo Pelini earned his 100th career win, including 67 at Nebraska.
Braxton Chapman and Joe Craycraft completed 12-play drives with short touchdown runs and Zaire Jones returned an interception for 30 yards and a score for the Penguins (6-6, 2-6), who snapped a three-game losing streak in their season finale and perhaps ensured that the Redbirds (8-4, 5-3) will not receive a first-round bye for the playoffs.
Both teams committed three turnovers, but Illinois State managed only 142 yards total offense and were 0 for 12 on third-down conversions. Two Redbirds quarterbacks were 3-of-16 passing for 30 yards. The Penguins had only 83 yards passing but 187 on the ground.
On the final play of the game, Youngstown senior quarterback Nate Mays, who was knocked out for the season against North Dakota State on Nov. 2 with a leg injury, was helped out onto the field to take the snap and take a knee.
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