NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Alejandro Rivera picked off a Ryan Clarke pass on the second play of the game, returning it 27 yards for a touchdown and Illinois State went on to roll over Valparaiso 50-13.
The defense stymied the Crusaders throughout the game, forcing three turnovers while holding them to just 130 total yards. The Redbirds racked up 446 total yards, 271 rushing and 175 passing.
Jake Kolbe threw for 166 yards and one touchdown and George Moreira rushed for 93 yards on just seven carries for Illinois State. DeMarco Corbin ran for 32 yards while scoring twice.
Anthony Warrum, who had 58 catches and 1,290 receiving yards last year, opened the season with two catches for 40 yards.
The Redbirds scored five times in the second quarter to take a 34-10 lead into the break.
Kellan Hughes intercepted a Kolbe pass, returning it 30 yards, for Valparaiso's only touchdown.