Indiana 52, Illinois 35. FINAL
Despite Nathan Scheelhaase's big day, Illinois' conference losing streak hit 19 games. And the end is not in sight with unbeaten Ohio State coming to town next weekend.
Cody Latimer set career highs with 11 catches and 189 yards receiving and hauled in three touchdowns for the Hoosiers, who snapped a three-game skid.
Tevin Coleman rushed 15 times for a career-high 215 yards, the most by a Hoosier in the last 10 seasons. The teams engaged in a back-and-forth shootout until Coleman’s 75-yard touchdown run edged Indiana ahead 42-35 with 12:41 remaining. Indiana burned the Illini’s run defense for 371 yards and gained a season-high 650 yards overall.
Scheelhaase completed 38 of 57 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns to lead Illinois. He added 45 yards and a score on the ground. Receiver Steve Hull exploded for 224 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.
Indiana 49, Illinois 35. 11:00 left in fourth quarter
The fake punt didn't work. Justin DuVernois' pass to Evan Wilson fell woefully short. Two plays later, Indiana burned Illinois' defense once again via the run. Stephen Houston punched it in from 2 yards out after gaining 35 yards on the first play after the failed fake punt. Illinois looks like it will need a miracle to come away with a win here today.
Indiana 42, Illinois 35. 12:31 left in fourth quarter
That took 10 seconds. Tevin Coleman gashed the Illinois defense for a 75-yard touchdown run up the middle. Coleman now has 207 rushing yards. On only 14 carries.
He's the fourth back to get past the 200-yard mark against Illinois this season. That latest scoring has to leave Illinois fans frustrated.
Very, very frustrated.
Illinois has to answer once again. Whoever has the ball last will win this game.
Indiana 35, Illinois 35. 12:41 left in fourth quarter
The strange happenings seem to be getting stranger here in Bloomington.
Josh Ferguson dove into the end zone for a possible touchdown, but the ball was knocked loose. Right tackle Corey Lewis recovered in the end zone for his first career touchdown. Words no one expected to write today.
A late hit penalty on Indiana on Nathan Scheelhaase helped Illinois out immensely on the drive, and a Statue of Liberty play to Ferguson also helped speed up the scoring.
Indiana 35, Illinois 28. End of third quarter
Third quarter hero: Jonathan Brown. The linebacker did something Illinois hasn't accomplished in two months. Pick off a pass. Brown did so, returning it 16 yards. The turnover set up a quick touchdown drive by Illinois, capped off by a 13-yard run by Nathan Scheelhaase. See what forcing turnovers can do for teams? Good things.
Third quarter goat: Caleb Day. The true freshman cornerback still has time to develop into a solid player. But he won't like to look back at the touchdown he gave up to Cody Latimer. Nate Sudfeld put a great ball into Latimer, who beat Day easily for a 41-yard score. And then Latimer did it again to the Illinois secondary, easing past Darius Mosely for a 50-yard touchdown grab. Latimer goes into the fourth quarter with 11 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
Third quarter thoughts: Cody Latimer has a bunch of receiving yards. And touchdowns. The Indiana wide receiver is tearing up the Illinois secondary. That interception by Brown seems like a long time ago. I wonder if Steve Hull will burn the Indiana defense again. I'm feeling pretty confident with my prediction of Illinois winning 52-49. Neither defense can stop the other offense. At all.
Illinois 28, Indiana 28. 5:17 left in third quarter
Nate Sudfeld hit Cody Latimer deep on a 41-yard touchdown pass. Latimer burned true freshman cornerback Caleb Day pretty bad on the play. Latimer has 10 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Not too shabby.
Just like that, a tie ballgame once again in Bloomington. This game has the feel that whoever has the ball last will win. Or at least have the chance to force overtime.
Illinois 28, Indiana 21. 8:31 left in third quarter
An interception — really, that happened — by Jonathan Brown set up Illinois with good field position. Field position Illinois capitalized on with a 13-yard touchdown run off a scramble by Nathan Scheelhaase.
A nice adjustment by Spencer Harris on a deep pass from Scheelhaase helped set up the score. Scheelhaase now has 320 passing yards on 21 of 27 attempts and has added 32 rushing yards on six carries.
Indiana 21, Illinois 21. 11:33 left in third quarter
Steve Hull, have yourself a day. The senior wideout just hauled in a 54-yard touchdown catch on a deep pass from Nathan Scheelhaase.
He was wide open. I mean, WIDE OPEN.
Hull now has five catches for a career-high 176 receiving yards. Suddenly, we have ourselves a ballgame in Bloomington.
Indiana 21, Illinois 14. Halftime
Second quarter hero: Earnest Thomas. The hard-hitting strong safety for Illinois forced a key fumble that Teko Powell recovered. Illinois forces a turnover, however, and can't capitalize. Story of the season for Illinois.
Second quarter goat: Illinois' play-calling. Two straight designed runs by Aaron Bailey with Illinois in Indiana territory and driving didn't fool anyone in the stadium. Let alone the Indiana defense. Neither run worked and instead of keeping the drive alive, Illinois turned the ball over on downs, allowing Indiana to take a 21-14 lead. Which is where the game stands right now.
Second quarter thoughts: Have Bailey throw the ball. The true freshman quarterback has primarily run the ball on every play Illinois has used him this season. The Illini did so again, with Bailey running on two straight plays. Indiana didn't bite, stopping him well short of a first down with Illinois driving and in Indiana's territory. Bailey can throw the ball. Let him.
Houston Bates had a big sack on Nate Sudfeld to force an Indiana punt after the Hoosiers' were driving. It was one of the few positive defensive plays Illinois made in the game's first 20 minutes. But Illinois couldn't take advantage of the stop, going three-and-out on its next possession. Thomas had a nice hit to force a fumble that Powell recovered. The defense has had two straight stops, a good sign for a unit that, for whatever reason, doesn't play well in the first quarter.
Why did Kevin Wilson call a timeout with 2 seconds left and then take a knee? Strange game, at times, so far in Bloomington
Indiana 21, Illinois 14. 4:02 left in second quarter
A heck of a catch by Shane Wynn helped set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld to Cody Latimer.
Illinois played man coverage on the play, with Darius Mosely lined up across from Latimer.
Sudfeld placed a nice ball to Latimer, who out-jumped Mosely to come down with the score.
Failing to convert on a fourth-down designed run by Aaron Bailey set up Indiana's touchdown drive.
Indiana 14, Illinois 14. End of first quarter
First quarter hero: Tevin Coleman. The Indiana running back, who starred at Oak Forest High School in suburban Chicago, is making Illinois' defense look even worse than it is. Coleman has 108 rushing yards. On only five carries. Every Big Ten opponent has had a rushing back go for more than 100 yards against the Illini. Coleman might top 400 at the rate he's going so far.
First quarter goat: Tim Beckman. The Illinois coach made it clear last Saturday at Penn State by going for it on fourth-down in the third quarter that he wanted to win the game. He undoubtedly wants the same outcome, today. With the inability of Illinois' defense to stop the Hoosiers, Illinois will need all the points it can get. Punting the ball when Illinois had it at Indiana's own 33-yard line was a puzzling concept.
First quarter thoughts: Indiana plays fast. Both defenses are bad. Why didn't Illinois go for it on fourth-and-3 with the ball at Indiana's 33-yard line? Two plays later, Tevin Coleman burned Illinois' defense with a 64-yard touchdown run off right guard. Completely untouched, too. Josh Ferguson looks like he did against Miami (Ohio). That's a good sign.
Not a good start with a holding penalty by Ralph Cooper on opening kickoff. Bigger loss was Simon Cvijanovic going down on a third-down play on Illinois' first drive. Didn't look good there for a few moments. Cvijanovic was carted off, but was able to stand up and limp to the cart before getting taken off.
He will miss the rest of the game with an ankle injury, but will be on the sidelines in crutches. True freshman Austin Schmidt replaced him at left tackle. A hands to the face penalty on Indiana bailed out Illinois tight end Matt LaCosse, who dropped a wide-open pass near the Hoosiers' 20-yard line.
Indiana 14, Illinois 14. 31 seconds left in first quarter
If only Steve Hull would have been on offense his whole career. The senior wideout just sprinted past the Indiana defense for a career-long 60-yard touchdown catch against the Hoosiers' secondary. Tom Crean and John Groce should give pointers to Kevin Wilson and Tim Beckman's teams. It might help their defenses, which are looking shoddy as expected.
Indiana 14, Illinois 7. 2:22 left in first quarter
Stephen Houston could have walked in. Instead he merely jogged for a 2-yard touchdown run, set up by a persistent and consistent Indiana offense. Illinois is, again, having trouble containing a high-profile offense.
The missed tackles were out in full force by Illinois on that drive. Now it's up to Nathan Scheelhaase and Co. to answer.
Tevin Coleman already has 108 rushing yards. On five carries.
Seems likely he'll get to 200. Maybe by halftime.
Indiana 7, Illinois 7. 5:50 left in first quarter
The shootout many anticipated seems to be going that way. Josh Ferguson darted and ducked his way for a 21-yard touchdown run.
Collin Ferguson, Josh's dad, most certainly enjoyed that run. Ferguson has had a big game so far. The touchdown helps make up for the fact that Illinois didn't go for it on fourth down on its first drive.
Neither defense can stop the other offense. That doesn't change even with a brisk wind right now. Ferguson already has 94 yards of total offense (70 rushing and 24 receiving). He'll need to continue that if Illinois wants to keep pace.
Indiana 7, Illinois 0. 11:01 left in first quarter
That didn't take long for Indiana. Tevin Coleman rushed 64 yards untouched for a touchdown down the right sideline.
Two plays after Illinois elected not to go for it on fourth-and-3 from Indiana's own 33-yard line. Could be signs of a long day ahead for Tim Beckman's Illini.
Iowa put the beatdown on Purdue (Boilermaker fans are probably tired of that phrase), handing Darrell Hazell's squad a 38-14 loss. If Illinois stumbles here today, the Nov. 23 game in West Lafayette, Ind., might be the only hope for an Illinois Big Ten win the rest of the way.
Illinois' wide receivers had a strong game against Penn State, with Spencer Harris, Steve Hull and Miles Osei routinely making plays, especially in the second half. Illinois will need another stellar effort from the trio today.
"At the beginning of the year, people would say, ‘Oh, they don’t have any receivers,'" Illinois wide receivers coach Mike Bellamy said. "I have a room full of guys that work hard, that are selfless and are pushing each other. A lot of times you hear people say, ‘It’s hard to be happy with somebody and not envious of them at the same time.’ If they’re envious of each other, the next week it makes them work harder, so I’m all right with that. Seeing the room full of seniors glow and be successful is what you want to see."
Harris has flown under the radar at times during his Illinois career, but the senior stood out against Penn State. He'll need to do so again. And, he's letting his beard go until the end of the season. Find out more from Harris, the lone Arkansas native on the Illinois roster, right here.
Harris isn't the only player to keep an eye on in today's game. Here's two more for Illinois and three for the Hoosiers. Don't have to watch Illinois football much to know Nathan Scheelhaase will have to perform well in order for the Illini to have a chance.
A handful of Illinois commits were in action last night throughout Illinois' high school state playoffs. Matt Domer, a running back from Chicago Mt. Carmel, had 248 rushing yards on 30 carries in a 20-15 win against Chicago St. Rita. Julian Hylton, an athlete from Lincoln-Way North who is expected to play cornerback at Illinois, rushed for 227 yards on 32 carries in a 38-6 win against Rich Central. Mt. Carmel is now in the Class 7A quarterfinals while Lincoln-Way North has moved on to the Class 6A quarterfinals.
Other Illinois commits are in action right now or later tonight throughout Illinois. Out of state, linebacker commit Henry McGrew from Blue Valley (Kan.) High School and the Tigers advanced to a sectional final (essentially the Elite Eight of Kansas high school football playoffs) with a 42-14 win last night in a 5A playoff game.
30 minutes until kickoff
Had a chance to catch up with Jake Wegener, one of the Illinois student videographers who helps film practices and games. Covered him four years ago when he was a three-sport athlete at Sandwich High School. Hard to believe how quickly time flies.
Enough of my trip down memory lane. Illinois, however, will want another trip down memory lane. The last time the Illini played here, they won a Big Ten game. Hasn't happened since.
"I know we don’t want our last moments to be moments of heartache and sadness," Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said. "I think we want them to be joyful ones, so we’re going to do the most we can to make them that way."
The Illinois band has made the trip, so there will be lots of band members in the stands. Almost as many spectators as there are right now it seems like.
Here's some game predictions from the esteemed media who have traveled here. I went with Illinois 52, Indiana 49, and I'm sticking with that again today.
Bob Asmussen, The News-Gazette: The wind is bad. Indiana 21, Illinois 20
Jamal Collier, Gatehouse Media: Indiana 45, Illinois 33
Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune: Illinois 48, Indiana 41
Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald & Review: Indiana 43, Illinois 33
Steve Greenberg, Chicago Sun-Times: Indiana 56, Illinois 35
Fletcher Page, Scout.com: Indiana 52, Illinois 35
Doug Bucshon, Rivals.com: Illinois 45, Indiana 42 (OT)
Sean Hammond, Daily Illini: Indiana 42, Illinois 38
Steve Bourbon, Daily Illini: Illinois 37, Indiana 34
Eliot Sill, Daily Illini: Illinois 34, Indiana 31
Torrence Sorrell: Indiana 35, Illinois 27
Loren Tate predicts he'll sleep well tonight after leaving Champaign at 5 a.m. and be well-rested for tomorrow evening's Illinois basketball game against Jacksonville State.
Be back at kickoff.
60 minutes until kickoff
If V'Angelo Bentley can go at cornerback, it might mean a reduced role for Darius Mosely. But perhaps not. The true freshman from O'Fallon is firmly entrenched as Illinois' starting nickleback, and with the way Indiana throws the ball, Illinois will likely have five or six defensive backs on the field quite a bit today.
This is my first time here in Bloomington, and interesting setup in the north end zone. They have a miniature football field where kids are playing on right now before the game. Cool idea.
Pretty sure Indiana is going with its metallic candy-stripe helmets today. There is a definite glare coming off them from the press box.
Bob Asmussen is here with me as well. First road trip for Bob since he had some health setbacks just before the 2012 season opener against Western Michigan. He's going over our college football picks we made in Friday's News-Gazette, hoping he can catch up the leaderboard. Good to have Bob here and back in the press box where he rightfully belongs.
Indianapolis native Ted Karras is one of four captains for Illinois today. The players vote on it each week, but I'm pretty sure it was a one-sided campaign since Karras grew up only an hour or so north of Bloomington.
Had an interesting discussion with a few Indiana fans about football scheduling. Shows there are some Hoosiers who care about football until the second week of November. They did not like having Missouri on the schedule — the Tigers won 45-28 here in Bloomington on Sept. 21 — and feel if Gary Pinkel's team wasn't on the schedule, a bowl game would be waiting for Indiana. Doubt a bowl game will pop up for Indiana now considering the Hoosiers have road games against Ohio State and Wisconsin before they end the year with Purdue.
Illinois has to win this game if it wants to keep its slim bowl hopes alive. Ohio State comes to Champaign next week before Tim Beckman's team ends at Purdue and at home against Northwestern. Realistically, and I don't think I'm talking crazy here, there are three winnable games for Illinois. Starting with today's one.
Now, four hours from now, you can call me crazy if Illinois leaves with a 35-point loss or something like that.
80 minutes until kickoff
Both teams are out on the field warming up. Illinois will go with white tops, navy blue helmets and navy blue pants. Hoosiers will go with white pants, red tops and some sort of odd helmet concoction. They have five to choose from, so Kevin Wilson's team has options.
Even with the breeze, it should be a gorgeous day of football. It's bordering on warm outside, especially when you're not walking straight into the breeze. That's enough of my weather forecast. For now.
V'Angelo Bentley should play today for Illinois. How Tim Beckman uses the cornerback/kick returner we will have to wait and see, but I'd imagine he'd be back there for a return or two. Click here for other info on Bentley's injury he sustained against Wisconsin and other tidbits related to today's game.
Hopped on an Indiana radio station for a bit to talk about the game. The consensus among the Hoosiers' fans is generally what I expressed in my game prediction. Both defenses aren't that great and both offenses should light up the scoreboard with great frequency today.
Be back in another 20 minutes or so with more updates.
Two hours until kickoff
Good afternoon college football fans. Matt Daniels here looking live out of the Memorial Stadium press box on the Indiana campus.
A breezy afternoon in Bloomington.
The flags in the north end zone are flapping at a pretty brisk pace.
Saw a few tailgate tents get nearly blown over on the way into the stadium, so not sure how much that will affect the passing and kicking games of both teams, but we shall see.
We'll try to talk as much football as possible in this space today, but the topic on most fans' minds at both these schools is basketball.
Illinois opened up with an easy win last night in Champaign against Alabama State while Indiana did the same thing here in Bloomington against Chicago State. Had a chance to talk to a few folks before coming up to the press box, and they are certainly interested in watching the progress of freshman forward Noah Vonleh.
They were also bemoaning the fact so many free throws were shot in the Hoosiers' win last night (Indiana made 45 of 55 while Chicago State was 22 of 27). Get used to it college basketball fans, at least early in the season, as new rules are implemented and adjusted to.
Back to football. Had a chance to talk to Collin Ferguson, Josh Ferguson's dad, for a minute in the parking lot. He wanted to add just an as an extra mention that his son is fine after he left the Penn State game late with cramps. He texted Josh shortly after last week's overtime loss to the Nittany Lions and asked 'Cramps or hamstring?' Josh reassured him it was just cramps and not the hamstring issues that have plagued him at times throughout his Illinois career. Expect Illinois to utilize Ferguson again in a multitude of ways.
Illinois stayed last night at the Indianapolis Marriott in downtown Indy before boarding the multiple buses they have on this trip for the drive south to Bloomington.
The Illinois managers were out on the field for a bit before the team arrived. Chances are Nathan Scheelhaase and Indiana's combination of Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson will have a difficult time throwing the ball when they're headed into the south end zone. For those viewing at home, that's the end zone Indiana recently renovated that has a multitude of stands int. The other end zone has the scoreboard in it.
Going to go hop on a Bloomington radio station for a bit, but I'll be back shortly with another update