Illini’s offensive explosion goes for naught as Big Ten skid hits 19
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter November 9, 2013 8:46PM
Cody Latimer (3) ripped Illinois’ defense for 11 receptions for 189 yards, including touchdown catches of 11, 41 and 50 yards. The Hoosiers gained 650 total yards. | AP
Illinois 14 0 14 7 — 35
Indiana 14 7 14 17 — 52
Ind—Coleman 64 run (Ewald kick), 11:01.
Ill—Ferguson 21 run (Zalewski kick), 5:50.
Ind—Houston 2 run (Ewald kick), 2:22.
Ill—Hull 60 pass from Scheelhaase (Zalewski kick), :31.
Ind—Latimer 11 pass from Sudfeld (Ewald kick), 4:02.
Ill—Hull 54 pass from Scheelhaase (Zalewski kick), 11:33.
Ill—Scheelhaase 14 run (Zalewski kick), 8:31.
Ind—Latimer 41 pass from Sudfeld (Ewald kick), 5:17.
Ind—Latimer 50 pass from Sudfeld (Ewald kick), 2:21.
Ill—Lewis recovered fumble in end zone (Zalewski kick), 12:41.
Ind—Coleman 75 run (Ewald kick), 12:31.
Ind—Houston 2 run (Ewald kick), 11:00.
Ind—FG Ewald 22, 5:25.
TEAM STATISTICS Ill Ind
First downs 30 29
Rushes-yards 34-162 43-371
Passing 450 279
Comp-Att-Int 38-58-1 21-28-1
Return Yards 16 7
Punts-Avg. 3-42.3 2-30.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-70 6-55
Time of Possession 34:56 25:04
RUSHING—Illinois, Ferguson 16-90, Scheelhaase 9-45, Young 7-28, Bailey 2-(minus 1). Indiana, Coleman 15-215, Houston 17-150, Roberson 4-16, Roberts 2-1, Team 1-(minus 3), Sudfeld 4-(minus 8).
PASSING—Illinois, Scheelhaase 38-57-1-450, DuVernois 0-1-0-0. Indiana, Sudfeld 20-27-1-267, Roberson 1-1-0-12.
RECEIVING—Illinois, Hull 9-224, Harris 6-62, Ferguson 6-49, Davis 5-45, LaCosse 5-11, Osei 4-37, Young 2-9, Barr 1-13. Indiana, Latimer 11-189, Wynn 3-52, Bolser 2-17, Roundtree 2-11, Coleman 1-7, D.Wilson 1-7, Roberts 1-(minus 4).
Updated: December 11, 2013 6:51AM
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — So much good. So much more bad. In the end: so very Illinois.
Think about what the Illini got done here on Saturday.
Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, a four-year starter, set a career high with 450 yards passing. Senior wideout Steve Hull had the game of his life, catching nine balls for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Josh Ferguson had another outstanding effort, with 139 total yards and a score.
For crying out loud, even sixth-year senior offensive tackle Corey Lewis got into the end zone. The veteran of three ACL tears and five knee surgeries fell on a fumble by Ferguson for a fourth-quarter touchdown. An extra point later, the score was knotted at 35.
On four separate possessions, the Illini rallied from seven points down to tie the score. There was no give-up in their giddyup.
“I’m proud of them to do that,” said coach Tim Beckman, “down to the last tick of the clock.”
And yet, when that last tick came, the scoreboard read 52-35 in favor of Indiana. The Illini (3-6, 0-5 Big Ten) have lost 19 consecutive Big Ten games. The Hoosiers (4-5, 2-3) get to do what everyone in this league does after playing Beckman’s team: celebrate.
You’ll notice that every Illini positive listed above was about their offense. Once again, the defense had a calamitous day, giving up plays of 75, 64, 50, 41, 40 and 35 yards. In the time it took you to read those numbers, the up-tempo Hoosiers could run at least three plays.
Cody Latimer caught 11 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
Tevin Coleman rushed for 215 yards (on only 15 carries) and two TDs, even better than Stephen Houston’s 150 yards (on 17 carries) and two TDs.
Those numbers are crazy. The Hoosiers are a talented offensive team, but no one’s that good.
“Any time a team goes fast and tries to tempo you, you’re going to have some mistakes,” defensive lineman Houston Bates said.
When this Illini defense takes the field, you’re going to have some mistakes. Where’s the improvement Beckman keeps talking about?
The Illini had three sacks and actually won the turnover battle for a change — two to one — but it didn’t help them. They went for it on fourth down when they shouldn’t have, didn’t go for it on fourth down when they should have, and had a ridiculous failed attempt at a fake punt.
“Heck, if it would’ve worked,” Beckman said, “we’d all be smiling now.”
That’s assuming they wouldn’t have lost the game anyway, which they probably would have.
All of this reflects poorly on Beckman, who’s far more involved with the defense than he is with the offense. Of course, those fourth-down and fake-punt decisions fall directly on him. And defensive coordinator Tim Banks must not be enjoying himself very much, either.
“It’s frustrating, it really is,” Banks said. “This is uncharted territory for me.”
But it’s same-old, same-old for the Illini. There were many good things that happened here, but in the end they didn’t matter. It all simply felt bad, yet again. Some guys just can’t win.