Arizona State 45, Illinois 14: FINAL
Fourth-quarter star: Michael Eubank. The Arizona state backup quarterback might be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in a few years. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound redshirt freshman reminds many of Heisman Trophy winner and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Remember this kid’s name. He trucked Illinois DB Eaton Spence at the goal line for ASU’s final touchdown.
Fourth-quarter goat: The Illinois offensive line. The quarterback play has been bad, but the big guys up front aren’t giving their guys a chance. Illinois quarterbacks were sacked six times Saturday. At this rate, Eddie Viliunas might end up back at quarterback if all the regulars keep getting hit.
What we’re thinking: If you’re an Illinois fan, you’re probably begging that your team doesn’t play on the West Coast for a while. It just doesn’t go well. At least Illinois wasn’t the only Big Ten team to falter against the Pac-12. Wisconsin and Nebraska also got beat in the Pacific Time zone. It’s late, how many folks stayed awake to watch this?
Arizona State 35, Illinois 14: End of third quarter
Third-quarter star: Eddie Viliunas. The former walk-on quarterback did his best Chris Coyle impersonation, getting wide open in the back of the end zone on fourth down to catch a touchdown pass from Reilly O’Toole to get the Illini in double figures. Very nice poise by O’Toole on that play, hanging in the pocket and letting the play develop.
Third-quarter goat: Jamal Miles. The Arizona State running back put the ball on the turf, and the Sun Devils turned it over in the red zone for a second time on Saturday. Imagine what the score would be if not for those ASU miscues.
What we’re thinking: Is Todd Graham still the coach at Arizona State? The 47-year-old coached the 2010 season at Tulsa before taking over at Pitt and after just one season at Pitt he bolted for the desert. Wouldn’t be surprised if he took a new job before this one ends.
By the numbers:
164 — Total yards by the Illini in the quarter; 80 of them came on the scoring drive.
6 — first downs by the Illini in the quarter. They have 17 for the game.
7 — Completions for Reilly O’Toole in 10 attempts. He’s got 44 yards, an interception and a touchdown
51 — Yards picked up by Josh Ferguson on one run. The redshirt freshman had a total of 38 yards last week. He’s got 101 tonight.
27:13 — Illinois’ time of possession. They’ve had it 10 minutes longer than ASU, but trail by 21 points.
1 — Penalties by Arisona State. The Sun Devils have been penalized 5 yards. They were penalized 30 yards last week.
222 — Rushing yards by Illinois. ASU has run for 117.
Arizona State 28, Illinois 7: End of first half
Second-quarter star: Michael Eubank. The ASU quarterback is known as Cam Newton Jr. and he definitely looks the part. He picked up where Taylor Kelly left off in the first quarter, competing all five of his passes for 69 yards and two TDs.
Second-quarter goat: Miles Osei. The Illinois backup QB is playing his heart out, but it’s just not enough to get anything going and his two interceptions proved very costly.
What we’re thinking: Is there a running clock in college football? The Illini better hope Scheelhaase can come back sooner rather than later, because with the offensive performance that we’re seeing, it could be tough sledding if the three-year starter can’t get that ankle healthy.
By the numbers:
14 — ASU quarterbacks completed their first 14 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly was 10 for 10 and Michael Eubank hit on his first four
43 — Rushing yards for Miles Osei. The rest of the team has xx combined. Kelly was three completions short of tying Dick Mackey’s school record of 13 straight completions to start the game.
2 — Turnovers by Miles Osei. The junior forced a couple of passes and they were both picked off by ASU’s Carlos Mendoza.
0 — Carries for Jon Davis. The tight end led the Illini in rushing last week.
1 — Defensive stops for the Illini. They finally forced Arizona State to punt.
30 — Minutes remaining in the game. You don’t have to suffer for much longer.
101 — Receiving yards for ASU tight end Chris Coyle. The big man has caught seven balls, two of them in the end zone. WMU’s Jordan White was the last player to go for more than 100 yards against the Illini. That was in 2011.
9:57 — Illinois time of possession in the quarter. ASU had it for a little more than five minutes and outscored the Illini 14-7.
86 — Total yards Illinois picked up in the quarter. They actually outgained the Sun Devils by 66.
Arizona State 14, Illinois 0: End of first quarter
First-quarter star: Taylor Kelly. The first-year starter at quarterback shredded the Illini in the opening period, making the visitors from the Midwest look like an FCS opponent. Kelley completed all 10 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown.
First-quarter goat: The whole Illinois defense. Between blown coverages and missed tackles, the Illini defenders made more mistakes in the first 15 minutes than they did all last week. I know Nathan Scheelhaase is hurt, but last I checked, he didn’t play defense.
What we’re thinking: Something about these West Coast trips that doesn’t seem to work for the Illini. Last time they were on the left coast, they fell behind 16-0 in the first quarter in a loss to Fresno State in 2010. It’s real hard to spot an explosive team a 14-point lead and expect to come back to win.
By the numbers:
2 — Delay of game penalties on the Illini. That can be chalked up to the change in quarterback
3 — penalties called on the Illini. They were flagged five times last week total.
32 — Career touchdowns for ASU’s Cameron Marshall. The senior is tied for the third most in school history with J.R. Redmond.
193 — total yards for the Sun Devils. The Illini allowed a total of 259 in Week 1.
52 — Total yards for the Illini. Miles Osei got 22 of them on the final play of the quarter.
-3 — Passing yards for the Illini. Reilly O’Toole hit Darius Millines with a pass for negative yardage. It’s the only pass Illinois QBs have completed.
62 — Rushing yards for the Sun Devils. Illinois allowed minus-6 last week.
10 — First downs for ASU. Western Michigan managed 13 in four quarters last week.
5.5 — Yards per carry for Illinois. They’re actually beating ASU (4.8) in that category
Illinois at Arizona State: 90 minutes before kickoff
Our Steve Kelly reports that Nathan Scheelhaase is out tonight and that sophomore Reilly O'Toole will get his first collegiate start against the Sun Devils. Expect to see some Miles Osei at quarterback, too.
Spent some time watching football with Bob Asmussen today, he's doing a lot better and is itching to get back to work.
Bob reminded me that the game Illinois lost at Arizona in 1996 was when Mark Hoekstra threw five interceptions — three of them returned for touchdowns. Bob said that Hoekstra met the media on the field after the game and answered every question in a session that lasted about 30 minutes.
It was a horrible day for Hoekstra on the field, but he earned a lot of peoples' respect for the way he handled himself afterward.
I also reminded Bob that I was a freshman in high school when that game was played.
Illinois at Arizona State: 2 hours before kickoff
Don't have anything official, but various reports coming out of Tempe say the quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will not play tonight against the Sun Devils. That will snap a string of 27 consecutive starts for the fourth-year junior.
The last quarterback to start a game for the Illini was Juice Williams back on Dec. 5, 2009 in a game the Illini lost 53-52 at home to Fresno State.
Expect Reilly O'Toole and Miles Osei to both see action tonight for the Illini.
Marcus Jackson here — now and all night. We'll provide quarter-by-quarter analysis ... once the game begins. Until then ...
Tonight’s game at Arizona State will be the 10th time in the last 25 years the Illini have traveled to play a Pac-12 opponent that was a member of the conference at the time of the game:
Sept. 10, 1988: Arizona State 21, Illinois 16
Illinois fell behind 21-7 before closing to within a touchdown on a halfback pass from Keith Jones to Steven Williams in the third quarter, but the only other points the Illini mustered was an intentional safety by the Sun Devils as time expired.
Sept. 4, 1989: Illinois 14, USC 13
In a game that initially was scheduled to be played in Moscow, the Illini trailed 13-0 entering the fourth quarter before Jeff George hit Shawn Wax and Steven Williams with touchdown passes in the final six minutes.
Sept. 8, 1990: Arizona 28, Illinois 16
The Wildcats turned two first-quarter Illinois turnovers into touchdowns and didn’t look back in a win against an Illinois team that shared the Big Ten title.
Sept. 9, 1995: Oregon 34, Illinois 31
The Illini led 31-20 entering the fourth quarter, but the Ducks scored 14 fourth-quarter points, highlighted by Jaiya Figueras’ recovery of Illinois QB Johnny Johnson’s fumble in the end zone.
Sept. 14, 1996: Arizona 41, Illinois 0
The Illini outgained the Wildcats 418-413 but gave up 28 fourth-quarter points while falling to 0-3 on the season.
Sept. 5, 1998: Washington St. 20, Illinois 13
In the season opener, the Cougars returned a fumble 52 yards for a score and got a TD pass to open a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Illinois drew within 17-10 at halftime on a Steve Havard TD run and a Neil Rackers field goal, but it couldn’t get closer as the teams traded field goals in the second half.
Sept. 1, 2001: Illinois 44, Cal 17
Behind Antoineo Harris’ three touchdowns and Brandon Lloyd’s eight receptions for 170 yards and two TDs, the Illini raced to a 38-7 halftime lead in the season opener for a team that won the Big Ten and played in the Sugar Bowl.
Sept. 13, 2003: UCLA 6, Illinois 3
After an illegal-procedure penalty moved his field goal try back 5 yards, Illinois’ John Gockman missed a 43-yarder with 27 seconds left that likely would have sent the game into overtime.
Sept. 17, 2005: Cal 35, Illinois 20
The Illini took a 17-7 lead into halftime in Ron Zook’s third game, but the Golden Bears, playing without running back Marshawn Lynch, dominated the second half despite Illinois getting 228 passing yards from Tim Brasic.
Out of their league?
Illinois is 2-7 at Pac-12 teams in the last 25 years. How the rest of the Big Ten has fared on the road against the Pac-12 in that span:
Michigan State 0-2
Ohio State 2-4
Penn State# 0-0
* — Joined Big Ten in 2011; # — Joined Big Ten in 1993