Saturday, October 8, 2011
Halftime: Illinois leads IU after big first half
By Brian Bennett
Illinois looked a little sluggish to begin its first road game of the year. Indiana grabbed a quick 10-0 lead, showed a lot of enthusiasm and energy, raising our antennae for an upset alert.
But the Illini still have Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins, and that's a pretty good combo.
Scheelhaase has thrown three touchdown passes, two of them to Jenkins. A week after breaking the school single-game record for receiving yards, Jenkins already has 77- and 67-yard scores and 170 receiving yards in the first half.
They're the main reasons Illinois leads 27-13 in a half filled with big plays. The Hoosiers' Shane Wynn took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Tavon Wilson returned a fumble 66 yards for a score. IU recovered two Illinois fumbles, one near the Illini goal line.
Indiana, though, has really struggled to get anything going in the passing game. Starting quarterback Dusty Kiel missed on his final seven throws of the half. True freshman Tre Roberson got a lot of time at quarterback in the first half as well. But IU is not going to fare well in a shootout with the Illini the way Scheelhaase and Jenkins are operating.
The most curious incident of the first half came midway through the second quarter, when Ron Zook decided to go for the two-point conversion while leading 20-13. It failed. Looking forward to hearing the explanation for that one.