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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Illinois defense bails out Lankford

By Adam Rittenberg

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Ryan Lankford has to be breathing a huge sigh of relief right now.

Illinois avoided a potential huge momentum swing after Lankford muffed a punt that went right to an Arizona State player. The Illini had pinned Arizona State deep and lost the field-position edge after Lankford's miscue.

But a defense led by a ferocious front seven prevented Arizona State from cashing in.

In fact, neither team is capitalizing tonight. The game has featured five turnovers, but neither team has scored off of a takeaway.

Both defenses have looked very sharp after shaky starts -- Illinois has yet to record a first down in the second half-- but both offenses are more than capable of scoring a lot in the final 17 minutes.

Illinois still leads 10-7.