2012 Illinois takes on Indiana for homecoming
Who will receive their first conference win?
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AmateurSports365.com) — As the subheading ask, well, it was Indiana defeating Illinois, 31-17, in front of 47,981 here at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. This win gives Hoosiers their first victory in the Big Ten Conference Leaders Division and hopefully getting their season back on the right track.
“It was a good win; the guys played hard,” coach Kevin Wilson shared during post-game. “I don’t know if we played particularly well; the defense rallied up and played well down the stretch. We didn’t turn it over, just the one pick early.”
Fighting Illini gots things going offensively on their opening possession with an 8-play, 73 yard drive that ended with a 2 yard pass from junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to Eddie Viliunas (7-0).
Indiana answered on their second possession of the game with a 9 play, 75 yard drive ending with a 2-yard touchdown run by Stephen Houston tying the score 7-7. It is important to note that Mr. Houston has now scored in every contest so far for the Hoosiers, and a total of three times in the first half.
Scheelhaase (17 for 27, 176) gave the Illini back the lead (14-7) on an 8-play, 55-yard drive resulting in him running the ball in from 5 yards out in the second quarter.
Hoosiers tied the game (14-14) with 10:10 in the second quarter when Houston scored for the second time in the game on a 10-yard screen pass from Coffman. This scoring drive was setup by a 48-yard pass from Nate Sudfield to Cody Latimer.
Sudfeld took over as QB1 as starting quarterback Cameron Coffman was benched and this sparked the team as coach Wilson shared. “Yeah, (this move was) a little spark.”
Shortly after their second score, Indiana obtained their first lead (21-14) in the game when, Illinois senior, Tommy Davis, muffed a punt giving the Hoosiers the ball deep in their territory. Four plays later, Mr. Houston scored for the third time from 7 yards out, and with this score, they never looked back. The junior back finished the game 21 carries for 73 yards, plus 16 yards receiving.
The Hoosiers did everything they planned to do, including containing Illinois’ rushing attack and force the Illini to become one-dimensional. In addition, Hoosiers defense created two key turnovers.
Illini had chances, lots of them, but couldn’t capitalize, the way Indiana did on the afternoon. The Hoosiers final score came off of a 6 play, 60-yard drive in which Sudfield (10-15 for 107, 2 touchdowns) connected with Shane Wynn (31-17).
Indiana’s season started off very well with a pair of wins over non-conference foes Indiana State (24-17) and UMass (45-6), but since then it has continued to tailspin with now six consecutive losses. The Hoosiers’ four losses in league play have come in hard-fought battles against very good teams in Northwestern (44-29), Michigan State (31-27), Ohio State (52-49) and now Illinois (31-17). This makes their official Big Ten record 4-26 since the start of the 2008 season.
“We talked about how you want to get used to that feeling (of winning) and the best way to do that was to prepare and tonight we’re on a college campus and let’s try to be winning team,” coach Wilson added with perspective of the victory today. “We’ve been doing a lot of things right and it’s nice to get a Saturday scoreboard to go our way and we want a more of those.”
Saturday was homecoming for Illinois, but as Memorial Stadium emptied, the Hoosiers did all of the celebrating. The team gathered in the southeast corner of the stadium with a few dozen red-clad fans who likely shared the team’s relief in finally getting a win.
“Well, it’s Homecoming and I’m not used to being involved in losses,” said coach Tim Beckman after the game. “So I guess first and foremost, the game of football is played when you don’t turn the football over and you don’t beat yourself.”
This lose gives Illinois a five-game losing streak and they continue to spiral with multiple double-digit losses and today they suffered eight penalties for 81 yards, along with penalties, sacks and turnovers were costly. On a brighter note, the Illini had one of their best rushing days of the season with 196 yards, and had 23 first downs to Indiana’s 14.
“I was proud of the way we blocked on the perimeter and the way guys ran,” coach Beckman concluded.
Next for Indiana will host Iowa (November 3); Illinois will travel to Ohio State on the same day.
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