Football
Williams, Illini Juice Panthers, 47-21

 
Arrelious Benn rushes through traffic in Illinois' 47-21 rout of Eastern Illinois.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Arrelious Benn rushes through traffic in Illinois' 47-21 rout of Eastern Illinois. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
 

Sept. 6, 2008

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Quarterback Juice Williams ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 24 Illinois to its first win of the season, 47-21 Saturday over Eastern Illinois.

Williams broke the Illinois quarterback record of 145 yards he set in 2006, and threw for 124 yards and a touchdown. But the junior also threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball a yard short of a third-quarter touchdown.

Travorus Bess rushed for 183 yards for Eastern Illinois (0-2), a Championship Subdivision school 45 miles south of Champaign in Charleston.

Illinois (1-1) scored four touchdowns in a decisive, 13-minute span that started late in the first half, going from a 13-7 lead to 40-7 after mistakes and bad luck let Eastern hang around for most of the first half.

Williams' interceptions both proved harmless in the end. Eastern's Bodie Reeder followed the first with a pick of his own, and Tyler Wilke missed a 52-yard field goal attempt.

Midway through the second quarter, Illinois handed Eastern the ball at the Illini 15 when a punt bounced off Miami Thomas' back while he was on the ground with an injured right knee and was recovered by the Panthers' Quinten Ponious.

But Eastern gave the ball right back, failing to convert a fourth-and-1 play at the Illinois 6.

After that stop, Williams and running back Daniel Dufrene got down to business with a nine-play, 94 yard touchdown drive capped by Williams' 7-yard run to put Illinois up 19-7 after a failed 2-point try.

Williams punched the ball in again from a yard out on Illinois' next possession, giving the Illini a 26-7 halftime lead.

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