“We took Nate out early, and I think it showed in the second half, because when we went back out there, that’s when he didn’t look as good.’’
The first pass play by Scheelhaase in the second half resulted in his only interception.
“There was a little indecision and I thought he tried to force it in,’’ Cubit said. “This is the first time that he and I have worked together. There are some things that we need to straighten out.
“It’s a good start, not great, but a good start.’’
It was also a good start for Illinois freshman quarterback Aaron Bailey. The highly-touted recruit from Bolingbrook ran the ball twice for 6 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“We want to play players,’’ Beckman said. “He’s a young man that we put that type of offense in for him to be successful.’’
And while that worked for Bailey, the same couldn’t be said for Reilly O’Toole.
The junior from Wheaton-Warrenville South struggled during his playing time in the fourth quarter. A delay of game penalty and a turnover gave the Salukis (0-1) an opportunity to come back in the final minutes.
“We felt Reilly O’Toole was deserving of getting into the football game,’’ Beckman said. “It was just a matter of when and where. We tell our team on Friday who is going to play.
“We gave up some big plays and we turned the ball over. You can’t turn the football over in any game, regardless of who you are playing and expect to be successful.’’
Ultimately, the Illinois defense made a stop on SIU’s final offensive play as Kory Faulkner, who threw for 312 yards and 3 scores, overthrew his intended receiver Adam Fuehne, a 6-foot-7 receiver.