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With Nate Scheelhaase out, backup quarterbacks unimpressive

Updated: October 3, 2012 6:28AM



CHAMPAIGN — If Nate Scheelhaase is sidelined by his ankle injury, the Illini say they will rally around backups Reilly O’Toole and Miles Osei.

Neither ignited a sputtering offense. But the focus was on O’Toole, who had more chances.

“Reilly was kind of up and down, to be honest,’’ coach Tim Beckman said. ‘‘He’s definitely capable, but we need to make sure we give him more of what we want him to do instead of letting him make some of those checks he was doing.’’

O’Toole was candid about a day in which he completed
2 of 3 for seven yards.

“Not too good. I messed up a few plays,’’ he said. “I can do better for sure. But we were up, so there was no point in passing. It was unfortunate we couldn’t get some holes to run.’’

If Illinois has to go with O’Toole, it may need to play to his passing strength. Or turn to the more versatile but less experienced Osei.

Fork it over

The menu is set for the victory meal. “We’ll celebrate on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.,’’ Beckman said. “We’ll eat cake and steaks and shrimp. When we win, we’re going to celebrate. They’ll be pampered because I want them to understand that winning is something to cherish. And this football team is going to cherish winning.’’

Rain chases crowd

Attendance was announced at 43,441, but less than 30,000 fans braved a threatening forecast. But the rain held off and the sun almost came out.

“When I woke up, it was raining cats and dogs,’’ athletic director Mike Thomas said. ‘‘I heard from a lot of people who weren’t going to sit out in the rain. The important thing is, we got the victory.’’



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