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Illini LB Jonathan Brown leaves game with leg injury

Updated: November 1, 2012 6:50AM

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ revolving door of injuries continued Saturday, with standout linebacker Jonathan Brown apparently leaving early with a leg injury. Offensive lineman Hugh Thornton (knee) and wide receiver Darius Millines (shoulder) did not play.

‘‘Are we banged up? Absolutely,’’ defensive coordinator Tim Banks said. ‘‘But nobody cares.’’

At least offensive lineman Graham Pocic (knee) and safeties Supo Sanni (knee) and Steve Hull (shoulder) returned.

And quarterback Nate Scheelhaase believes his sprained ankle is behind him after getting high-lowed in the third quarter.

‘‘That was as bad a hit as you can get on it,‘’ said Scheelhaase, who missed one play. ‘‘When you’re able to get hit and bounce back, that means you’re back to where you need to be.’’

Poaching Illini

For all the heat Tim Beckman has taken for sending eight assistants to recruit at Penn State, you wonder if it was worth it.

Even though Illinois could use help on its banged-up offensive line, Beckman said lone Penn State transfer Ryan Nowicki is redshirting.

Asked why a redshirt freshman would redshirt again, Beckman said, ‘‘He’s just not ready yet.’’


Illini safety Earnest Thomas was ejected for delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit as tight end Matt Lehman crossed the goal line with Penn State’s third TD.

‘‘If you lead with the head, they’re going to call it,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘That’s something we can’t do. [The penalty situation] is going to be addressed, no question about it.’’

Illinois was penalized eight times for 69 yards, including a running-into-the-kicker penalty and a 15-yard personal foul for another helmet hit.

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