Illinois Defeats Indiana, 43-13
Oct. 23, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase turned 123 yards of passing into a pair of touchdowns and the Fighting Illini returned interceptions for two more Saturday in a 43-13 rout of Indiana.
Illinois (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) led 27-10 at the half and held on through a sloppy, mostly defensive second half, all with the help of five Indiana turnovers.
The Illini talked all week about two keys to the Indiana game: blunting the effectiveness of quarterback Ben Chappell and, after losing the turnover battle and the game a week earlier at Michigan State, finding a way to separate the Hoosiers from the ball.
In a first half they couldn't have drawn up much better, the Illini did both.
Chappell averages just shy of 310 yards a game and is almost never sacked. He spent the first 30 minutes Saturday under pressure and, while sacked just once--a loss wiped out by a face mask penalty--he was hurried and hit often.
The senior quarterback had 178 yards at halftime, and Indiana had 227 total yards to Illinois' 164.
But the Illini forced three first-half turnovers, two of them Chappell interceptions and all of which led to points.
The second and third were due in large part to Justin Staples, playing in the freelance pass-rushing position Illinois calls a bandit.
First, Staples stripped the ball out of Wildcat quarterback Dusty Kiel's arms, wrestling it away for linebacker Ian Thomas to grab at the Indiana 23. The Illini turned that into a 17-yard touchdown pass from Scheelhaase to Jarred Fayson and a 17-7 lead midway through the quarter.
Minutes later, Staples hit Chappell as the quarterback threw the ball, forcing it off target for backup defensive back Patrick Nixon-Youman to pick off on the run. Nixon-Youman glided 68 yards down the left sideline for another TD and, with 7:07 to play in the first half, a 24-7 lead.
A pair of late field goals made the score 27-10 at the half.
Illinois padded its lead at 29-10 with a third-quarter safety, blocking a Chris Hagerup punt in the Hoosier end zone.
Indiana pulled backed to within two touchdowns at 29-13 on Mitch Ewald's 21-yard field goal with 1:53 to play in the third quarter, but the Hoosiers never looked like they had the pieces still missing from a comeback in them.
The Hoosiers last four possessions ended with a punt, a pair of interceptions - one of them another return for a touchdown, this one 66 yards by Jonathan Brown - and the end of the game.
Chappell finished 26-48 with 279 yards and a touchdown for Indiana (4-3, 0-3) but threw three interceptions that buried the Hoosiers. Receiver Ted Bolser had four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.