Illini Turn In Solid Performance At Annual Spring Game
April 15, 2000
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Continuing to improve on last year's success, Ron Turner's Illinois football team turned in a solid performance Saturday in the annual spring game at Memorial Stadium.
Showing why it cracked the top 25 at the end of last season, Illinois capped off a quality spring session by displaying a balanced offensive attack and a bruising defensive core. Led by Kurt Kittner and Mon Long, the Blue downed the White 27-0.
Kittner led an experienced offense with a 22-for-38, three-touchdown passing performance. The upcoming junior signal-caller took every snap for the Blue team and connected with eight different receivers on the afternoon, including sophomore-to-be Brandon Lloyd, who pulled in five balls for 100 yards. In the absence of fullback Jameel Cook, who broke a bone in his hand on Thursday and was held out of action, Carey Davis, Rocky Harvey and Antonio Harris combined for 139 of the Blue squad's 156 yards on the ground. Davis led the Blue with 60 yards on 12 carries.
Despite missing eight starters from last year's defense, the Blue also dominated on that side of the ball, holding the White to just 38 yards on the ground and 69 yards through the air. Long paced the Blue defense with six tackles.
Bright spots for the White team included the efforts of B.J. Ogata (two catches for 31 yards) and Quincy Washington (12 carries for 27 yards), as well as Jerry Schumacher's game-leading eight tackles.
The performance of special teams was highlighted by Steve Fitts, who is looking to takeover for departed place-kicker Neil Rackers. Fitts, UI's punter the past two seasons, had a perfect afternoon, punting effectively and connecting on field goals of 46 and 24 yards. Fitts also knocked in his only extra point attempt.
The Illini resume training in August at Camp Rantoul and open the 2000 season at home Sept. 2 against Middle Tennessee State.
BLUE 27, WHITE 0