CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 139 yards and Illinois pulled away in the second half for a 21-0 win over Western Illinois on Saturday.
Western Illinois held the Illini (1-1) to a scoreless draw in the first quarter and trailed just 7-0 at the half.
The Leathernecks (1-1) came into the game ranked No. 23 in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly I-AA.
A 9-yard touchdown run by quarterback Juice Williams put Illinois up 13-0 early in the third quarter. With a two-touchdown lead, Illinois rode Mendenhall in the second half. The junior running back carried the ball eight times for 48 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter.
Leatherneck running back Herb Donaldson provided most of his team's offense. He carried the ball 27 times for 59 yards.
Western Illinois had only 85 yards of offense in the first half, 54 coming on 17 tough carries by Donaldson. The Leathernecks were in Illinois territory just two times, and then only briefly.
But Illini mistakes, something coach Ron Zook complained about after the team's season-opening loss to Missouri, kept the game close.
The scoreless first quarter was largely the result of a fumble, a holding penalty, a sack and an overthrown pass. Those errors killed two promising Illinois drives.
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|North Dakota State||7-1||13-2|
|South Dakota State||5-3||8-4|