Illinois running back Russ Weil (41), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (16) and quarterback Juice Williams (7) celebrate a two-yard touchdown reception by Hoomanawanui. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Sept. 22, 2007
|DB Vontae Davis||VIDEO|
|DL Chris Norwell||VIDEO|
|QB Juice Williams||VIDEO|
|DB Kevin Mitchell||VIDEO|
|DB Justin Harrison||VIDEO|
|DL Will Davis||VIDEO|
|RB Rashard Mendenhall||VIDEO|
|LB Antonio Steele||VIDEO|
|Head Coach Ron Zook
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Rashard Mendenhall ran for a career-high 214 yards and one touchdown, scored on a reception and the Illinois defense forced four turnovers and blocked a punt in a 27-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
It was Illinois' first win in a Big Ten opener since 1993.
Indiana (3-1, 0-1) had won two straight in the series, but the nation's No. 7 rushing offense was limited to just 134 yards - about half its previous average. The Hoosiers were led by Kellen Lewis, who was 26-of-51 for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Juice Williams was 13-of-28 for 98 yards and two touchdowns to help Illinois (3-1, 1-0) put away the Hoosiers.
Mendenhall was even better, carrying 27 times and easily surpassing his previous career-best of 162 yards rushing last October against Penn State.
Lewis answered late in the half with a 7-yard TD pass to James Hardy to get Indiana within 13-7.
One problem: Williams had 2:04 left on the clock, enough time to methodically lead Illinois on a 68-yard scoring drive. The final play was a swing pass to Mendenhall, who made a nifty cut in the flat to get free for a 15-yard score and a 20-7 halftime lead.
Illinois sealed the win with 12:45 to go when Mendenhall powered in from 6 yards out, following an Indiana fumble, for a 27-7 lead.
Lewis threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to James Bailey, who slithered through the middle of the Illinois defense on his way the end zone, cutting the deficit to 27-14. But Lewis was picked off in the end zone with about 1 minute left to go, ending comeback hopes.