LIVE! Illini-La. Tech

LIVE! Illini-La. Tech

CHAMPAIGN - If Arizona State's 45-14 win against Illinois was embarrassing, what was this?

Worrisome, for one.

Louisiana Tech shamed Illinois in a 52-24 win tonight. Memorial Stadium has seen its share of poor performances. This one is right up there.

Illinois (2-2) committed six turnovers and appeared lost, particularly on defense. Louisiana Tech (3-0) quarterback Colby Cameron threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns before sitting out much of the fourth quarter. The 52 points were the most scored by an Illini opponent at Memorial Stadium since the final game of the 2009 season (Fresno State 53, Illinois 52). The WAC visitor was a mismatch for the Big Ten host.

Not only that, but the Illini have a full-fledged quarterback controversy. Nathan Scheelhaase was intercepted and fumbled before he gave way to Reilly O'Toole in the second quarter. Miles Osei also played. O'Toole was 19-for-25 for 120 yards. Returning from an ankle injury, Scheelhaase started well - 6-for-6 at one point - and finished 8-for-11 for 85 yards.

Illinois opens the Big Ten season next Saturday against Penn State. Given the early results around the Big Ten, perhaps it will get easier from here. But the early results in the Tim Beckman era are cause for concern.

HQ Live Report - Louisiana Tech 45, Illinois 17 - End of third quarter

Third-quarter star: Clock operator. If he makes this a running clock.

Third-quarter goat: Illini coaching staff. Twice in the past three games, the opponent has appeared to be the better-prepared team. Louisiana Tech has been the aggressor, in both its performance and its play-calling. Tonight is even more embarrassing than the nationally televised blowout at Arizona State. Once could be a fluke. Twice and it's a pattern.

What we're thinking: Illinois football fans should be worried. While Tim Beckman often has lamented a lack of depth on the roster, the starters on defense might be as talented as he will have at Illinois. And his defense is getting run off its own field.

By the numbers

4:27 - Remained when Louisiana Tech recovered a touchdown in the end zone - and when Illini fans began heading to the exits

0 - Turnovers for Louisiana Tech in the second half

1 - Turnover for Illinois in the second half, when a bouncing punt glanced off the leg of Justin Green

10,000 - Estimated number of fans still remaining in Memorial Stadium

156 - Yards receiving by Quinton Patton, the first-quarter star that is the entire game's star

11/6/10 - Date of the last game when an opponent scored more than 40 points against Illinois (Michigan 67, Illinois 65 3OT)

Back at the horn.


HQ Live Report - Louisiana Tech 21, Illinois 17 - Halftime

Second-quarter star: Donovonn Young. From the first possession, when he trucked a Louisiana Tech defender in the open field, to his 1-yard touchdown run, the native Texan is running like his touches depend on it. The sophomore has a team-high 10 rushes for 41 yards and a TD.

Second-quarter goat: Louisiana Tech special teams. The Bulldogs had built a comfy 21-7 lead and held all of the momentum before muffing a punt inside its own 20-yard line. Illinois recovered the fumble, which led to a field goal.

What we're thinking: Someone dipped the football in a bucket of butter. Five turnovers were the story - two by Louisiana Tech, three by Illinois. In three-plus games, the Illini have created nine turnovers while losing eight. We will learn (or ask, at least) after the game if the quarterback shuffling was a result of Nathan Scheelhaase's two turnovers in the first half.

By the numbers

3 - Quarterbacks used by Tim Beckman, fueling the notion there is a quarterback controversy at Illinois

3 - Superheroes on the field during the Marching Illini's halftime performance (Batman, Superman and Spiderman)

3 - Tackles by promising freshman Mason Monheim, including a shoestring takedown that forced a punt

32-for-38 - Reilly O'Toole's passing numbers over the past six quarters

10-0 - Lead for Notre Dame against Michigan in the third quarter

1 - Loren Tate rooting for Michigan, a rare event

Back for the fourth.


HQ Live Report - Louisiana Tech 21, Illinois 7 - End of first quarter

First-quarter star: Quinton Patton. Whether it was racing through the secondary with a 40-yard reception or snagging a bullet from Colby Cameron on the sideline, the Biletnikoff candidate put on a wide-receiving clinic.

First-quarter goat: Illinois secondary. While the Illini defense was solid on the previous series, forcing a fumble, the Bulldogs' two touchdowns came too easy. The first one took only 2:32 and ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass over the top. The next series included another 27-yard completion over the defense. Louisiana Tech's no-huddle offense and varied play calls had the Illini on their heels.

What we're thinking: Wasn't that a helmet-to-helmet collision that jarred the ball from Josh Ferguson's grip? Maybe we got a bad look at the replay. Either way, the fumble stopped a promising drive from the Illini, who were nearing the Louisiana Tech 20-yard line. It also marked the first time Illinois has lost a fumble this season - and only the second fumble in three-plus games.

By the numbers

4 - Touchdown receptions this season by Ryan Lankford, including a twisting, turning 18-yard catch from Nathan Scheelhaase tonight

100 - Percent was the completion percentage by Scheelhaase on the first two drives (6-for-6)

6-for-7 - Scheelhaase's passing numbers after an interception by Louisiana Tech's Solomon Randle

57 - Degrees at kickoff, with a northwest breeze of 7 mph

1 - Top-25 basketball recruit in Memorial Stadium; Xavier Rathan-Mayes arrived here about 10 minutes prior to kickoff; Rathan-Mayes is rested, too, having caught a nap back at his family's hotel this afternoon

10 - At least, Bulldogs on the sideline waving their arms between plays to emphasize the hurry-up, no-huddle offense

2 - Games Illinois has trailed after the first quarter (Arizona State)

10 - Yards onto the field, where Tim Beckman stood while challenging a call that gave Louisiana Tech its third touchdown

1 - Notebook in front of Loren Tate; the detail with which our legend chronicles every game is remarkable

Back at halftime.


Louisiana Tech at Illinois — Kickoff

The Illini captains for today: Ryan Lankford, Hugh Thornton, Terry Hawthorne and Tommy Davis.

LA Tech won the coin toss and elected to defer. Illinois will receiver heading north.

Here are some predictions from the folks in the press box who cover the team:

Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune picks Illinois 38-35

Herb Gould from the Chicago Sun-Times picked LA Tech 42-38

Jeremy Werner from ConnectFM picked Illinois 28-27

David Mercer of the Associated Press says LA Tech 31-28

Paul Klee picked LA Tech 31-21

Temperatures are expected to dip into the low to mid 40s tonight. That’s really cold for the handful of folks who made the trip from Louisiana.

Klee will take over from here, offering updates at the end of each quarter. Tight deadline tonight.

Louisiana Tech at Illinois — 15 minutes before kickoff

Just spoke with former All-American linebacker J Leman. Man, does that guy have some energy. J loves Jonathan Brown. He also love the potential of freshman Mason Monheim.

J, the Champaign Central product, deemed Illinois the real Linebacker U, with respect to Penn State, because of Nitschke, Butkus, Howard, Hardy, Holocek and said that even though he was listed as a defensive end, Simeon Rice was really an outside linebacker. J didn’t mention himself, but he’s certainly in that same company.

I forgot to mention earlier that Josh Ferguson is good to go tonight after missing last week with a concussion.

Gene Honda just announced Nathan Scheelhaase as the starting quarterback, so that mystery is gone.

Just visited with Illinois AD Mike Thomas in the press box. He stopped by News-Gazette row. He and Klee were going on and on about that new quarterback of their beloved Denver Broncos.

The Marching Illini are ready. While the band performs, take a look at some things to watch for tonight’s game here.

Here's a view of tonight's game from Jerit Roser, who covers Louisiana Tech for the Monroe News Star in Northeast Louisiana.

Louisiana Tech at Illinois — 45 minutes before kickoff.

So, Klee says he “beat” me in basketball. Here’s what really happened. It was at Jim Rossow’s house, Memorial Day weekend about five years ago. I had been there a few hours and may or may not have consumed a 12 pack by the time Klee showed up. We were playing a H-O-R-S-E tournament and stone-sober Paul Klee made a few shots and he quick-shot me and won.

Now, he talks about how good he was at Denver Christian and all that jazz. And he actually was a really good point guard — pass first. How do I know? Because he has old newspaper articles in his top desk drawer as proof. I don’t doubt that he was good, but I’ve got 5 inches and about 50 pounds on Klee. I could handle him. I’ve never actually seen him play before. A few times I’ve invited him to play in intramural and pickup games, but he’s declined. Rossow plays. Klee doesn’t.

He does kick my butt on the golf course, though. 

Sorry, I had to get that out.

Back to football. The Illini are on the field going through warm-ups. Scheelhaase is out there and looks ready to go. Darius Millines is out for tonight’s game. So is Evan Wilson. Graham Pocic is a gametime decision. I don’t expect him to start. Houston Bates is dressed.

Supo Sanni is in uniform for the first time this season. I’ll keep an eye out to see who else may or may not be playing.

Illinois is wearing the blue tops with blue pants and orange helmets. Tim Beckman is superstitious. They won’t change until they lose.

Louisiana Tech at Illinois — 60 minutes before kickoff

Good evening, folks, Marcus Jackson herefrom Sunny Memorial Stadium.

Big-time tailgate going on outside here tonight. I have a feeling the fans have been looking forward to the late kick so they can enkoy themselves. I’d be interested to see how many actually make their way inside the stadium.

Walked past the Assembly Hall and I saw John Groce playing bags and tossing the football around with Xavier Rathan-Mayes and the rest of the Illini. Those guys know how to entertain.

About the football game, there is still one tonight, despite all the excitement of the highly touted guard visiting the Illini basketball program this weekend.

This should be a fun one. Not really sure what to expect. Louisiana Tech has scored a boatload of points this season but Houston and Rice aren’t exactly world beaters. LA Tech doesn’t stop anyone from scoring either.

As for the Illini, they get quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase back tonight. Keep an eye on how the junior is moving around on that tender left ankle that kept hin out of the last two games.

Paul Klee is here, too. If anything happens with Rathan-Mayes, he’ll be all over it. I’ll also address that story he told during his chat the other day about “beating” me in basketball.

While we await kickoff, take a look at my chat with the very personable Ryan Lankford. He’s got a famous God father.

We'll be back in a few minutes.

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SEMOIllini wrote on September 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

5 turnovers in 3 quarters---that won't win any games.  Why can't ILL ever get a coach like LA Tech Dykes or a QB like Cameron?  They both are game-changers.

Salt Life wrote on September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm
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Well closest Illinois ever came to such dynamic head coaching and QB's was Mike White with Wilson, Eason, Trudeau, followed up by Mackovic wuth George. Since then the head coaches have progressively gotten worse and Illinois has had to suffer greatly with the likes of Turner, Zook and now Beckman. Losses against ASU and LA Tech are totally embarassing and show how poorly coached these Illini are, even worse than last year.

griff507 wrote on September 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Somewhere Zook is laughing his butt off. I stopped watching after the first quarter, this "team" is just to hard to watch. I really didn't think they could play any worse than they did the last half of last season, I was dead wrong! The entire O-line looks like they have never played a down before. I wonder if coach Beckman, and this cast of coaches, have noticed that they are in WAY over their heads? Here is to hoping they figure it out. I think we will all be safe to go ahead and make holiday plans, the Ill-ini will not be in any bowl game, this year.


butkus50 wrote on September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thomas first mistake was hiring this guy; Beckman's first mistake was not offering Vic K defensive coordinator job right off bat. We all the returnees, this coaching staff is a joke! Didn't Thomas see Beckmans team gave up over 60 points two games in a row? I feel sorry for the seniors, juniors, and sophomores.

Well, at least we have basketball and I do think we have a good coach in BB. On to BB season, hopefully.

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm



Wow... Just wow... Well Mike Thomas, thank god you brought in "Your guy" and "Your #1 candidate".  I'd hate to see what happened if you didn't.  Hell, we might've lost this game by 100.  Thankfully you chased off Vic Koenning because he wasn't ready to be a head coach.  I mean damn, were he coaching we might've lost this game by 150.  We should be thankful for this hire.  Thomas sure saved us from a lot of heartache.

Let me put this very clearly and very directly: Mike Thomas made our athletic department look foolish in his bungling of both the football and basketball hiring process.  He is in way over his head for this position and has looked amateurish at best, and completely unqualified and overmatched at worst.  Welcome to the dark ages, Illini fans.  It may only be 4 games into his tenure, but Beckman's staff is incompetant, ill-prepared, ineffective, and well overmatched.  Beckman has shown little to no evidence of game planning acumen and ability to get his players mentally ready to play.  It's four games, but in my lifetime I'm quite certain we haven't had a worse coach.  And that's saying a lot because Zook was an awful gametime coach and Turner couldn't recruit worth a darn.

I sincerely hope John Groce does a great job in replacing Weber.  I really do.  But after what I've seen from Beckman and his staff so far, I really don't have much hope.  I can't take this garbage, I really can't.  I saw us play ASU in person and I recall only one worse game in my lifetime.  That was our loss to Penn State in 2004(?) by a score of 62-7(?).  This game was worse.  It was a complete embarassment.  I'm a longtime fan and I'll be a longtime fan.  I'll always follow this team, but what a pathetic showing.  Completely unacceptable.  I am confident that any of the 654 people still in the stadium at the end of the game could have done just as well if not better preparing these kids for the game.  What a joke.  I need to sleep, I'm rambling.  How pathetic.

illiniart wrote on September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Watching these coaches is really like watching Amateur Night.  Beckman's handling of the Koening situation was about as amateurish as you can get.  Now, Green and Hawthorne, who have been reasonably good defensive backs, are terrible.  What happened to them?  Physically they are the same, so it has to be the schemes we are running.

And what's with playing three quarterbacks?  That series with Osei and OToole down by the goal line was mystifying. 

The Big Ten looks really weak, so with a a few breaks we may still make it to a bowl game.  None of us would have jumped for joy if Zook was still here.  However, it is hard to believe we'd be doing this badly if he was.  This might end up being a very, very long season.....for the few people who show up for the games.



Dan Bloeme wrote on September 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Well this time Beckman can't blame playing a West Coast team with 3-hour time change lag or whatever excuses he gave last time this season the Illini were pummeled thoroughly and completely like this. I'm tired and done with excuses Coach Beckman! You are an awful coach and are just as bad or worse than Zook. Your defensive coordinator is also a ton worse than Vic Koenning was and your offensive coordinators may be even more befuddled than Paul Petrino was. I am not encouraged that the Big Ten seems down this year as Beckman's Illini seem to be resigned and  headed for the pits of a terrible conference season. What a terribly prepared and coached team this is or did I say that already. If so it bears repeating!!
Stunk up the Stadium they did ~ something awful! Hiring Beckman = Huge Mistake

SEMOIllini wrote on September 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Louisiana Tech scored 50+ points in it's first 2 games (now 3)---yet the coaching staff had no plan to slow them down?  Why?  Where was your Zone coverage?  There was too much boy-to-man coverage.  The defensive backs looked like high schoolers against Tech receiver Patton and QB Cameron.  Watch the tape, then watch it again. 

Terry Hawthorne was badly beaten on 2 huge TD's throws and gave Tech another when he failed to signal to a teammate he was not going to make a fair catch--then the punt hit his teammate.  He needed to shout out his intentions so his teammates can get away from the ball.   Hawthorne is not a freshman, but he played like one--and he hurt his NFL resume today.

Six (6) turnovers speak volumes about the coaching of this team.  They need to return to the basics for the rest of the season---I suggest Rantoul.

And---Coach Beckman---pulling Reilly O'Toole for Miles Osei for 3 plays inside the 10 was a mistake and didn't do much for O'Toole's confidence.  O'Toole needs to be the QB if you expect this team to win any games in the Big Ten---Scheelehaase has had his chance and is sub-average at best.  A QB that can throw the ball like LA Tech Colby Cameron is what Illinois needs and O'Toole is the best option.  By the way, Coach, you need to expect more from your assistant coaches than what they showed tonight---I hope you have already come to that realization.    


JimOATSfan wrote on September 23, 2012 at 5:09 am

OK, managed to miss this stinker here in Melbourne AU.  It is now 5:30am on Sunday morning in CU and we just got home. 52-24 = ouch.

I hope Coach Beckman and his staff improve from here on out, but right now I agree with those above who noted Coach Vic Koenning is a far better defensive co-ordinator, even if he is older than the head coach.  He might have made a better head coach too (time will tell).  I still don't understand why any head coach needs to split the offensive and defensive co-ordinator positions. It is probably what put Coach Vic off in the first place, leading to choosing North Carolina instead.

Also, hope it is clearer to the Nathan-Scheelhaase-must-be-the-starting-QB-if-you-have-any-football-sense-in-your-brain club that he is not an exceptional passing QB: which is the only way to win in college football today.  RO is the man and needs to start and stay in the game in the red zone too.

NS is a very good athlete and needs to be a running back, and perhaps following in the gene line a defensive back like his father if he wants to play on Sundays. He won't get there playing as a QB.  Hey - aren't we lacking experienced depth at the RB and DB positions?

Let's intend that AD Thomas learns the lesson, that non-stop positive attitude by coaches is not all that is needed to win football games.

Wonder which week of the 12 week season Illini fans start a campaign to rehire Zook and Guenther.

Still an Illini fan from afar. Go Illini!