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Coach Tim Beckman says Illinois will look at QB situation this week

Updated: October 24, 2012 6:51AM

CHAMPAIGN — Playing for the first time in Illinois’ last three games, Nate Scheelhaase came out firing before giving way to Reilly O’Toole at the end of the first quarter after an interception and a fumble led to 14 Louisiana Tech points.

Scheelhaase completed his first seven passes for 83 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Lankford, and finished 8-for-11 for 85 yards.

Scheelhaase, who was coming off a sprained left ankle, didn’t try to run the ball until he scrambled and fumbled it away with 1:21 left in the first quarter. He had thrown an interception before that and didn’t return.

‘‘He looked rusty, and we weren’t moving the ball,’’ said coach Tim Beckman, who let O’Toole (19-for-25, 120 yards) play the rest of the way, except for a quick cameo by Miles Osei. ‘‘We decided we’d give Reilly an opportunity, and he came in and moved the ball for us. We’ll evaluate the film and practice next week and make a decision [about the starter] against Penn State.’’

The game against Penn State will begin at 11 a.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

Night streak

With their loss to Louisiana Tech, the Illini fell to 14-8 in night games at Memorial Stadium. They had won their last four home games under the lights.

Football fever

The Bulldogs are from Ruston, La., 300 miles northwest of New Orleans and 90 miles east of the Texas border.

It’s serious football country. Louisiana-Monroe, which upset Arkansas 34-31 on Sept. 8,
is 30 miles east of Ruston. And Grambling, where Eddie Robinson built a legendary program, is six miles west.

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