2:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
Memorial Stadium, CHAMPAIGN, IL
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- E.B. Halsey's 40-yard punt return and a pass interference penalty in the end zone set up Illinois' winning touchdown with 1:02 remaining in a 30-27 win over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Halsey returned the punt to the Western Michigan 40 and Illinois (2-1) moved to the 19 in four plays. On second-and-3, Illini quarterback Brad Bower tried to hit Ade Adeyamo in the right corner of the end zone, but Adeyamo was hit before the ball arrived.
The penalty put the ball on the Western Michigan 4 and Halsey scored his second TD of the day on the next play. The Illinois defense kept the Broncos pinned back in the final minute.
Western Michigan (1-2) had taken a 27-23 lead with 6:56 remaining after Blake Sims ran an interception back 56 yards to the Illinois 44. Eight plays later, Ryan Cubit hit Greg Jennings from 3 yards out.
Bower, a redshirt freshman playing for injured starter Jon Beutjer, completed 10 of 19 passes for 177 yards. He was intercepted twice. Halsey rushed 20 times for 91 yards and Adeyamo caught 6 passes for 93 yards.
The Broncos moved the ball easily on the Illinois defense, rolling up 406 yards to Illinois' 353. Western Michigan running back Trovon Riley carried the ball 17 times for 75 yards and freshman Mark Bonds had 13 carries for 71 yards.
Cubit was 27-of-41 for 273 yards.
Western Michigan kicked its first two field goals of the season in the first half. Nate Meyer connected from 50 yards out and Robert Menchinger hit from 22 to break a string of four straight misses.
Illinois kicker Jason Reda connected on a 34-yard field goal, but missed an extra point -- breaking a string of 202 consecutive extra point kicks for Illinois.
|3rd Down Conversions||8-16||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|TD||14:47||PIERRE THOMAS 99 YD KICK RETURN (JASON REDA KICK)||0||7|
|TD||8:51||TROVON RILEY 1 YD RUN (ROBERT MENCHINGER KICK)||7||7|
|TD||4:02||E.B. HALSEY 3 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)||7||14|
|FG||14:55||NATE MEYER 50 YD FG||10||14|
|FG||5:11||ROBERT MENCHINGER 22 YD FG||13||14|
|TD||3:41||KENDRICK JONES 28 YD PASS FROM BRAD BOWER (MISSED KICK)||13||20|
|TD||5:59||BRIAN JACKSON 8 YD PASS FROM RYAN CUBIT (ROBERT MENCHINGER KICK)||20||20|
|FG||0:25||JASON REDA 34 YD FG||20||23|
|TD||6:56||GREG JENNINGS 3 YD PASS FROM RYAN CUBIT (ROBERT MENCHINGER KICK)||27||23|
|TD||1:02||E.B. HALSEY 4 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)||27||30|