(STATS) - Illinois State football doesn't just have a lot of talent returning this coming season, the Redbirds have a lot to be motivated about.
The Redbirds, who won a share of their second straight Missouri Valley Football Conference titles, fell short of returning to the FCS national championship game when they were ousted at home as the No. 2 by Richmond in the quarterfinals.
Despite losing their 1-2 combo of quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Marshaun Coprich, the Redbirds expect to remain at a high national level this year.
That possibility appeared promising in the Redbirds' annual spring game Saturday in Normal, Illinois, where the Red team slipped past the White team 14-10 with a late touchdown.
Trailing 10-7 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Jake Kolbe engineered a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by Spencer Schnell's 3-yard touchdown catch.
Kolbe, who took snaps for both squads during the first half, combined to finish 11 of 21 for 167 yards.
While Illinois State (10-3 last season) is confident in the sophomore pocket passer taking over for Roberson; George Moreira, Jamal Towns and DeMarco Corbin could be part of a running backs committee. Otherwise, the Redbirds have a veteran offense as the other nine starters are back, including All-America wide receiver Anthony Warrum.
Coach Brock Spack's team lost more on defense, but some key players return from injury or are expected to step up on the depth chart.
The Redbirds will kick off their 2016 season with a Sept. 3 home game against Valparaiso.