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Illinois’ Steve Hull rips off some ‘phenomenal’ plays

Updated: December 11, 2013 6:51AM



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Steve Hull couldn’t cut it as a receiver when he got to Illinois, so, in training camp before his redshirt freshman season, he was moved to safety. As a fifth-year senior he has ascended into the role of Nathan Scheelhaase’s go-to target.

Hull was switched back to receiver before this season. With Ryan Lankford out after a shoulder injury, Hull is the team’s lone deep threat. More than that, he’s a strong route runner who is fearless over the middle and can go up and get a ball in traffic.

His 224 receiving yards on Saturday more than doubled his previous season high. It was the second-most yards ever for an Illini receiver, behind A.J. Jenkins’ 268 in a 2011 game.

“Unbelievable,” coach Tim Beckman said. “Steve made some plays that were phenomenal.”

More huge numbers

Scheelhaase’s 495 yards of total offense were the third-most in that category in program history. Dave Wilson had 585 in a 1980 game, and Juice Williams went off for 503 in 2008. Chances are good Scheelhaase will finish his career as Illinois’ all-time leader in total offense.

Miscues

For the first time in nearly two months, Illinois won the turnover battle. Senior linebacker Jonathan Brown had his third career interception, and defensive tackle Teko Powell recovered a fumbled forced by safety Earnest Thomas. Scheelhaase was intercepted in the end zone on the Illini’s final drive.

Of course, the last time they won the turnover battle, on Sept. 14 against Washington, they also lost.



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