41 - 20 Final
  for this game

Scheelhaase leads No. 19 Illinois past Indiana

Oct 8, 2011 - 11:57 PM Bloomington, IN (Sports Network) - Nathan Scheelhaase passed for three touchdowns and ran for another, leading No. 19 Illinois to a 41-20 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Scheelhaase threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins and Tavon Wilson returned a fumble 66 yards for a score in a three-minute span in the first quarter, pushing the Fighting Illini (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) out of an early 10-0 hole.

Shane Wynn had returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to spark the Hoosiers (1-5, 0-2) to their early lead, but any chance of an upset was quickly squashed.

The Illini are off to their best start since 1951, when they opened the season 7-0 en route to a 9-0-1 record.

"We say it all the time -- on any given Saturday anybody can beat anybody in this league," said Illinois head coach Ron Zook. "If you watched their games, they've gotten better every week and they're going to win some games.

"I really think they've done a good job. We did the things we had to do to win and as I told our guys, we just need to continue to improve and get better."

Scheelhaase was just 12-of-22 passing, but compiled 210 yards through the air mostly on two big plays to Jenkins, who also scored on a 67-yard catch in the second quarter.

The Illinois quarterback rushed 18 times for 88 yards, while Troy Pollard gained 92 yards on nine carries. Jenkins had 182 yards on six receptions.

Dusty Kiel was an ineffective 6-of-19 for 71 yards in two-plus quarters for Indiana. Tre Roberson went 11-of-17 for 148 yards and an interception and ran for a late score.

Wynn burst through the middle of the field, then took the ball out to the right and rumbled untouched for his 99-yard kickoff return to open the game.

Later, the Hoosiers turned a Donovonn Young fumble into a 44-yard Mitch Ewald field goal for a 10-0 lead with 5:55 remaining in the first quarter.

But Illinois came storming back to quickly take the lead.

Scheelhaase found Jenkins over the middle of the field and the wide receiver sprinted untouched for a 77-yard touchdown to get the Illini on the board.

On the ensuing Indiana possession, defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus sacked Kiel, forcing a fumble that Wilson returned 66 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-10 Illinois.

Scheelhaase was sacked and fumbled early in the second quarter, and Indiana capitalized with a 20-yard field goal from Ewald. But the Illini quarterback led a 74-yard touchdown drive that ended in a three-yard pass to Jon Davis to make it 20-13 (a two-point conversion attempt failed).

Later, Scheelhaase and Jenkins connected on a 67-yard touchdown pass to give Illinois a 27-13 lead at halftime.

"We held them a little bit in the first half on their run and pass, and I thought our defense battled. But that's a tough offense," said Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson.

"They got 21 points off of three plays."

Scheelhaase rushed for a nine-yard touchdown late in the third quarter for a 34-13 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Roberson rushed for a two-yard touchdown, but the Illini replied with an 89-yard drive and Jason Ford's one-yard run for a score.

Game Notes

Illinois has won four of the last five meetings and holds a 45-21-3 record in the all-time series...The Illini have won seven games in a row dating back to last season, their longest winning streak since the 2001 Big Ten Championship team won seven straight...The Illinois defense has forced at least one turnover in 21 consecutive games dating back to November 14, 2009.