Saturday, September 17, 2011
Halftime update: Arizona State-Illinois
By Adam Rittenberg
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- We've reached halftime here at Memorial Stadium, and what looked like an offensive shootout has slowed down significantly.
Illinois leads 10-7.
Stat of the half: The teams have combined to convert 9 of 16 third-down attempts, but they've also combined for three turnovers, none of which turned into points.
Best player in the half: Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Other than a very ill-advised throw into triple coverage, Scheelhaase has sliced up Arizona State's defense. He completed 8 of 11 passes for 104 yards and added 62 rushing yards on 10 carries. Two receivers also have stood out: Illinois' A.J. Jenkins (4 catches, 79 yards) and Arizona State's Aaron Pflugrad (4 catches, 55 yards).
What Illinois needs to do: Stop committing turnovers and start finishing drives. Illinois should have more points against an Arizona State defense that clearly has some flaws. The Illini also need to figure out ways to cover up their problems at the safety position or Brock Osweiler will make more plays in the second half.
What Arizona State needs to do: Pick up blitzes better and allow Osweiler to attack Illinois in the deep middle. The Sun Devils also need to show better discipline after being penalized five times for 55 yards. The defense must keep an eye on Scheelhaase, who has found gaps.