La. Tech 52, UI 24: Just the facts
Play of the game
In the first quarter of a 7-7 game, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was looking for Ryan Lankford across the middle. He found Louisiana Tech's Solomon Randle. The Bulldogs scored three plays later, and the rout was on for the reigning WAC champions against the team from the Big Ten.
Numbers game: 6
That's the number of turnovers the Illini committed. In addition to Scheelhaase's two, Josh Ferguson, Justin Green, Dami Ayoola and Reilly O'Toole all committed turnovers, all of which led to Louisiana Tech points. The last time Illinois committed at least five turnovers was a win in 2008 against Eastern Illinois.
What it means
The opportunity to win three consecutive bowl games looks like a long shot as the Illini, who went 2-6 in conference play last season, will have to win four of their eight Big Ten games to become bowl eligible. Oh, and La. Tech might be for real. The Bulldogs, who have won 10 straight regular season games, have scored 45 or more in three straight games for the first time in school history.
The Big Ten opener against a Penn State team whose roster was decimated by NCAA sanctions in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The Nittany Lions enter with momentum after Saturday's win against Temple, and Illinois is going to have to get a whole lot better between now and then to open the conference season with a win for the second straight season.