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Ron Zook knows the score? Not this time

Updated: November 16, 2011 11:39AM

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Why did Illinois go for two after scoring a touchdown Saturday that put it ahead 20-13 with 7:18 left in the second quarter?

Because coach Ron Zook, who tells his players to keep playing and not worry about the score, took his own advice too literally and was so immersed in the game that he didn’t know the score.

‘‘We were down five, right? Up five, I mean,’’ he said. ‘‘It was 20-13? Up seven?’’

You know that airline ad where they show an embarrassing moment and say, ‘‘Wanna get away?’’ This was it.

‘‘Maybe I didn’t know what the score was,’’ Zook said. ‘‘That’s happened to me before. It’s usually when we’re behind. [This will] give you something to pound us about.’’

Seems like someone on the staff could’ve told Zook the score. Apparently, no one did.

Up and downs

For all of his success on the field, receiver A.J. Jenkins left Zook and offensive coordinator Paul Petrino unsatisfied.

‘‘I love A.J. like a son,’’ said Zook, unhappy with two fourth-quarter drops on third-down plays. ‘‘But I’m going to get on him for the two balls he dropped that would’ve kept the chains moving. If he wants to be one of the best, he has to catch those.’’

Even though his 77- and 67-yard TDs made him the game’s No. 1 star, Jenkins, who also caught an earful from Zook for risking an excessive-celebration penalty, was not made available to the media after the game.

‘‘A.J. needs to show up every day in practice and work as hard as he can,’’ Petrino said, ‘‘and not get too worried about reading the paper and reading about himself. The good thing is, he made a couple of mistakes in the second half, so now we can get after him all week.’’

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