CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) -- Quarterback Luke Drone passed 267 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to help lead Illinois State to a 24-21 victory over Eastern Illinois.
Drone went 20-for-31 and added 35 yards on the ground as the Redbirds won its sixth-straight over the Panthers.
Eastern Illinois went up 21-17 early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Chip Keys. The Redbirds responded by capping a march downfield with a two-yard scoring run by tailback Rafael Rice with 6:52 left.
The Panthers got into field goal range on the ensuing drive, but quarterback Bodie Reeder fumbled the snap with under 30 seconds left to play. The ball was recovered by defensive end Kaschiev Hunter, and the Redbirds took a knee to run out the clock.
Illinois State struck first early in the opening quarter after linebacker Bill Hornec recovered a fumbled snap by Panther quarterback Cole Stinson near midfield and Drone engineered a seven-play scoring drive capped by six-yard pass to fullback Garin Harcar. The Panthers tied the game when Ademola Adeniji ran the ball in from eight yards out.
A 23-yard field goal from Tyler Funk and a 22-yard pass from Drone to Kedric Meredith in the second quarter -- after the Panthers scored on an eight-yard reception by Micah Rucker -- gave the Redbirds a 17-14 advantage at the half.