- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last weekend, Illinois missed junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase in a 45-14 loss to Arizona State, so naturally there were worries when Illinois coach Tim Beckman decided to hold Scheelhaase out again -- even against an FCS team. But Beckman gave backup sophomore quarterback Reilly O'Toole a boost of confidence with the start, and O'Toole didn't disappoint, leading Illinois to a 44-0 win against Charleston Southern.
The sophomore signal caller started the game hot, completing his first 10 passes. From there, he rolled. O'Toole finished with five touchdown passes -- to four different receivers -- during a 30-of-37 performance for 365 passing yards.
With his five touchdown throws, he tied Nebraska's Taylor Martinez for the most touchdowns thrown in a single game this season in the Big Ten.
O'Toole's strong performance was good for Illinois, because it got the opportunity to start rolling before the Big Ten conference schedule. But it also means that Illinois will have a viable backup who has established chemistry with the Illini offense when Scheelhause returns from his ankle injury. And with Illinois' road schedule this season (Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin), O'Toole could see his name called once again in high-intensity situations.