The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

September 23, 2012

Illini blown away by Bulldogs

CHAMPAIGN — Tim Beckman’s Illinois football team is not ready for prime time.

For the second time this season the Fighting Illini suffered a blowout loss in a game under the lights.

Louisiana Tech (3-0) came into Memorial Stadium and handed Illinois a 52-24 loss in the final non-conference game for the Illini.

Illinois (2-2) also sustained a 45-14 loss to Arizona State on Sept. 8 in Tempe, Ariz.

The Bulldogs scored 31 unanswered points in the second half after running just six offensive plays in the second quarter.

Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron threw a pair of touchdown passes of 78 and 21 yards to Quinton Patton to start the third quarter.

The Bulldogs scored its third touchdown of the quarter when Antonio Mitchum recovered a muffed punt in the end zone. It was one of five fumbles lost by Illinois (2-2) in the contest.

“You can’t turn the ball over six times and give up big plays,” Beckman said. “We are disappointed in the way we played and the way we coached.”

Louisiana Tech has scored more than 50 points in all three of its victories this season. Previously, Louisiana Tech defeated Houston 56-49 and Rice 56-37.

The Bulldogs also extended their regular game winning streak to 10 games.

“We played an awfully good football team,” Beckman said. “They won a conference title last year and I’m sure they will be a team to contend with again this year.”

Illinois junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase played just the first quarter being replaced by Reilly O’Toole.

Beckman said Scheelhaase was rusty and Illinois needed a change. When asked about quarterback position for next week the first-year coach said it would be a competition.

“We have to evaluate the film and see what happens in practice,” Beckman said. “We will do whatever makes us the best football team.”

Illinois got on the board first when junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase connected with receiver Ryan Lankford on a 18-yard scoring strike.

Scheelhaase’s touchdown pass came two plays after the Illini defense forced the game’s first turnover.

Illinois senior defensive end Michael Buchanan got a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Tim Kynard at the Bulldogs 18.

Louisiana Tech scored the next 21 points with three scoring drives of 74, 45 and 23 yards and those three possessions used just 4 minutes, 18 seconds.

The final two — both Tevin King touchdown runs — came after Scheelhaase turnovers, giving the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead.

Reilly O’Toole, who started the last two games, took over for Scheelhaase in the second quarter.

The Illini took advantage of the Bulldogs second turnover of the first half when Taylor Zalewski made a 26-yard field goal.

Illinois closed within 21-17 on its next possession with Donovonn Young’s 1-yard capped a 13-play, 57-yard drive.

Illinois is back at home next Saturday with its Big Ten opener against Penn State. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 11 a.m.

For a complete recap of the Louisiana Tech win over Illinois go to www.commercial-news.com.

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