Postgame Notes - Illinois 33, Arkansas State 15
Sept. 3, 2011
Illinois 33, Arkansas State 15
1. Illinois defeated Arkansas State, 33-15, in the first game of the season for both teams. The victory marks the first season-opening win for the Illini since 2006, when Illinois defeated Eastern Illinois, 42-17, on Sept. 2.
2. Nathan Scheelhaase finished 16-of-23 for 267 yards and two touchdowns. During the game, Scheelhaase tossed a 72-yard completion to A.J. Jenkins to break a career high for longest pass, eclipsing his previous best of 54 yards set vs. Southern Illinois on Sept. 11, 2010.
3. Scheelhaase topped his career high for passing yards against Arkansas State with 267. Scheelhaase's previous high was achieved in his last game, with 242 vs. Baylor in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 29, 2010.
4. Scheelhaase now has 15 touchdowns and just one interception in his last eight games.
5. The Illini had two receivers with over 100 yards each for the first time since Oct. 11, 2008, against Minnesota (Arrelious Benn  and Jenkins ). Jenkins had 148 yards on 11 receptions, while Darius Millines had 119 yards on five catches against Arkansas State. Both receivers recorded one touchdown during the contest.
6. Jenkins marked a new career high for most receiving yards in a single contest against Arkansas State with 148. Jenkins' previous high of 137 was set against Minnesota on Nov. 13, 2010. Jenkins also bested his career high with 11 receptions. Jenkins' previous best was seven catches at Penn State on Oct. 9, 2010. In addition, Jenkins topped a career high for his longest catch, surpassing a previous best of 54 yards set three times, last vs. Southern Illinois on Sept. 11, 2010.
7. In addition to being a career high, Jenkins' 11 catches are the most by an Illini since Arrelious Benn had 12 catches against Minnesota on Oct. 11, 2008.
8. Millines also set a career high for most receiving yards in a single game, with 119 against Arkansas State. Previously, Millines' career best was 32 yards against Baylor in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 29, 2010. His five catches also topped his two total receptions from 2010.
9. Trulon Henry led the Illini defense with eight tackles, including a half-TFL, and one interception. Also on defense, Supo Sanni and Jonathan Brown each recorded six tackles. Sanni set a new career high with his six tackles, eclipsing a previous best of four set on three occasions, last at Indiana on Nov. 17, 2009.
10. Illinois had three scoring drives that lasted at least six minutes each, with all three drives requiring more than 10 plays to score. Illinois controlled the ball for a total of 35:43, an 11-minute advantage over Arkansas State's time of possession (24:17).
11. Illinois had 202 yards of rushing on the day, the sixth-straight game with at least 200 yards on the ground. The streak of 200+ rushing yards began at Michigan on Nov. 6, 2010.
12. The 33 points scored by the Illini against Arkansas State marked the most points Illinois scored in a season-opening contest since 2008 vs. Missouri, when the Orange and Blue scored 42 points. The 33 points marked the most scored at Memorial Stadium in a season-opener since 2006 (42 points vs. Eastern Illinois, Sept. 2, 2006).
13. Illinois held an opponent to 15 or fewer points in a season-opener for the first time since 2004. To open the 2004 season, the Illini held Florida A&M to 13 points during a 52-13 victory.
14. Redshirt-freshman Houston Bates recorded five tackles, including a sack and two tackles-for-loss in his first college game.
15. Illinois converted 12 of its 18 third down plays (66.7%) on the game.
16. True-freshman running backs Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson saw their first collegiate action against Arkansas State. Young rushed for 39 yards on six attempts (6.5 ypc), while Ferguson carried 15 time for six yards (2.5 ypc).
17. In addition to Young and Ferguson, other true-freshman who saw their first Illini action included Reilly O'Toole, Valdon Cooper, Justin DuVernois, Jon Davis and Jordan Frysinger. Senior transfer Brandon Clear also saw his first action as an Illini.