Aug. 19, 2000
In front of a packed house crowd of 2,500 fans, the Illinois football team took to Rantoul High School's Bill Walsh field for the annual fall preseason scrimmage and dazzled the fans with hard hits by the defense and breath-taking catches by the offense.
Quarterback Kurt Kittner took snaps in the first half only and completed 13-of-15 passes for 113 yards, including a three yard touchdown pass to tight end Josh Whitman. He hit sophomore receiver Greg Lewis for a 41-yard catch en route to Lewis' three-reception 57-yard night. Back-up quarterbacks Dustin Ward and Christian Morton split time in both halves with Ward threw for 112 yards on 14-of-20 passing, while Morton was 7-of-14 for 77 yards.
The defense also drew some "oohs and aahs" with impact plays from sophomore safety Marc Jackson who came up with four tackles and an interception and return for 17 yards. Senior cornerback Trayvon Waller had five tackles and blocked a JJ Tubbs 31-yard field goal attempt. Sophomore linebacker Jerry Schumacher led the way for the defense with nine tackles, while defensive end Mike O'Brien tallied two sacks.
In the on-going race for the starting kicking job, junior Steve Fitts hit four field goals in four attempts, including a 40-yarder. Sophomore Tubbs made two-of-five, including successful kicks of 46 and 43 yards. Fitts also had three punts of 35, 40, 50.
"I was pleased with the execution tonight," head coach Ron Turner said. "I was also pleased with the quarterbacks. Overall it was a good scrimmage. We still have a lot of work to do, but we definitely have something to build on."
The Illini will return to double-session practices Monday, Aug. 21 at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and will close out Camp Rantoul Tuesday, Aug. 22 with workouts scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Classes begin on the UI campus Wednesday.