The Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0) completely dominated the Cincinnati Bearcats (1-1) with the score of 45-17 Saturday in Memorial Stadium. Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The Illini saw a great defensive performance by linebacker Jonathan Brown who had 14 tackles. This was coach Tim Beckman's first win over an FBS opponent with Illinois.
Scheelhaase and the Fighting Illini struck first with a 48 yard bomb to speedy back Josh Ferguson. Scheelhaase's first pass was incomplete then he went 8-for-8 on the touchdown drive.
Illinois took a 14-0 lead off of a crafty 29-yard end around run by Ryan Lankford, his first rushing touchdown of the season. On their next offensive drive a beautiful touchdown pass to Evan Wilson opened the game wide open for the Illini going up 21-0.
The Illni simply dominated the first half of the game and Cincinnati had no answer for the Illini. The play calling for Illinois was masterful and Scheelhaase was absolutely light's out for his second straight game. The run game was much more effective this week as they nearly quadrupled their totals from last week.
The second half was a different story as the momentum shifted almost completely to the Bearcats side after giving up 10 straight points. The Bearcats had scored another touchdown but it was overturned by a fumble in the end zone call. Illinois scored on the next drive despite started on their one yard line.
Cincinnati lost all moment when they lost Legaux to a severe leg injury.
Illinois played like a team on a mission and they matched last year's win total with today's win. They looked more focused and this new offense looks to be more potent and effective. Next week the Fighting Illini face a true test in No. 20 Washington at Soldier Field.