CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- After neither team turned five combined takeaways into points, Illinois finally made Arizona State pay.
The Fighting Illini offense rewarded its defense for a night of huge plays as Nathan Scheelhaase found A.J. Jenkins for a 16-yard touchdown on a crossing route. Defensive end Whitney Mercilus, who is having a terrific night rushing the passer, set up the score by leveling Brock Osweiler and forcing a fumble that Ian Thomas recovered.
Illinois' defense certainly has played well enough to win this game, forcing three Osweiler turnovers. From Mercilus to Jonathan Brown to Michael Buchanan, Illinois has had a ton of contributions.
The Illini lead 17-14 with about 10 minutes to play.