Illinois drops 17th consecutive Big Ten game
BY HERB GOULD For Sun-Times Media October 27, 2013 1:00AM
Michigan State running back Delton Williams (22) outruns Illinois defensive back Eaton Spence (27) and safety Eric Finney (14) for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)
Michigan St. 0 14 14 14 — 42
Illinois 3 0 0 0 — 3
Ill—FG Zalewski 31, 9:41.
MSU—Langford 1 run (Geiger kick), 12:40.
MSU—Fowler 29 pass from Cook (Geiger kick), :09.
MSU—Price 13 pass from Cook (Geiger kick), 10:07.
MSU—Langford 7 run (Geiger kick), 2:37.
MSU—Mumphery 47 pass from Cook (Geiger kick), 14:52.
MSU—D.Williams 42 run (Geiger kick), 8:05.
TEAM STATISTICS MSU Ill
First downs 29 8
Rushes-yards 55-269 21-25
Passing 208 103
Comp-Att-Int 15-16-0 13-21-1
Return Yards 8 0
Punts-Avg. 1-54.0 5-40.6
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-34 7-66
Time of Possession 39:06 20:54
RUSHING—Michigan St., Langford 22-104, D.Williams 5-78, Hill 13-70, O’Connor 2-10, Shelton 2-7, Cook 8-7, Mumphery 1-(minus 1), Team 2-(minus 6). Illinois, Ferguson 10-26, Scheelhaase 6-11, Davis 2-2, Bailey 1-(minus 1), Lankford 2-(minus 13).
PASSING—Michigan St., Cook 15-16-0-208. Illinois, Scheelhaase 13-21-1-103.
RECEIVING—Michigan St., Mumphery 3-77, Fowler 2-40, Price 2-21, Lippett 2-7, Lyles 1-18, Kings 1-16, Pendleton 1-13, Shelton 1-6, Sims 1-6, D.Williams 1-4. Illinois, Harris 6-46, Ferguson 2-15, Barr 2-8, Lankford 1-22, Osei 1-13, Davis 1-(minus 1).
Updated: November 28, 2013 7:02AM
CHAMPAIGN — A missed touchdown on “the inch yard line’’ here. A 991/2-yard touchdown march by the opponent there.
Pretty soon you’re talking real numbers.
Hapless Illinois took an early 3-0 lead but allowed 42 points in a row to Michigan State and lost 42-3. It was the 17th consecutive Big Ten defeat for Illinois (3-4, 0-3), which will need to pull off a big upset to avoid its 18th when it travels to Penn State next week.
“We didn’t play well,’’ coach Tim Beckman said. “Everybody saw that. It’s a shame because it’s homecoming and you want to do well for these seniors. We have to regather, learn from this stuff and move forward.’’
Is half a game better than none? No. Not even for struggling Illinois. The Illini were nine seconds away from being down 7-3 at halftime. But that wasn’t in the cards against the Spartans (7-1, 4-0), who dodged a bullet at one end of the field and crushed the Illini at the other end late in the second quarter
After coming up short on fourth-and-inches at the MSU goal line midway through the second quarter, Illinois allowed Michigan State to go 99 yards in 15 plays.
It was a drive capped by a 29-yard TD catch on third-and 25. Even though Illini cornerback Jaylen Dunlap, a true freshman, tipped the ball a couple of times, MSU receiver Bennie Fowler, a senior, pulled it down for the score.
“[We’re] on the inch yard line,’’ Beckman said. “We’ve got to got score. And then they drive 991/2 yards for a touchdown.’’
Dunlap, an earnest young man from Crete-Monee, did not disagree.
“I think I hit it twice,’’ he said. “I should have made a play on it. I had it. There’s no excuses.’’
But there are explanations. The Spartans might have issues on offense. But they were bigger, stronger and faster than Illinois, which gained 25 yards on 21 rushes. They demonstrated that by steamrolling for two third-quarter touchdowns, and adding two more in the fourth quarter.
The undermanned Illini were thinner than usual because one key receiver, Steve Hull (21.6 yards per catch, eighth in the nation), who suffered a head injury last week, didn’t play. And another key receiver, Ryan Lankford, left the game with a shoulder injury after getting drilled and fumbling early in the second quarter.
Lankford is probably out for the season, Beckman said.
“We lined up wrong,’’ said offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, who showed his displeasure on the sideline after the play. “That’s not how we line up. That got screwed up from the very beginning. It was going to be another reverse and the guy was on the wrong side.’’
Leaving Lankford in a very bad place against a very good defense.
Even though it started with promise, it ended up being that kind of a day for Illinois.