Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicago Tribune report on Illinois loss to Louisiana Tech


Recap: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

Published: Saturday, Sep. 22, 2012 - 10:07 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 22, 2012 - 10:37 pm
Colby Cameron tossed four touchdown passes as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs cruised to an easy non-conference win over the Illinois Fighting Illini, 52-24, at Memorial Stadium.
Cameron completed 15-of-22 passes for 284 yards for Louisiana Tech (3-0), which has won 10 of its last 11 games dating back to last season. Quinton Patton hauled in six receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while Tevin King ran in two scores on the ground.
For Illinois (2-2), Nathan Scheelhaase started under center (8-of-11, 85 yards, TD, INT) before being relieved for Reilly O'Toole, who completed 19-of-25 passes for 120 yards. Donovonn Young led all rushers with 78 yards and also added a touchdown. The Illini committed six turnovers, and it was their worst non-conference regular season loss since 1996.
Illinois started the scoring six minutes into the game when Scheelhaase connected with Ryan Lankford on an 18-yard touchdown.
Louisiana Tech tied the score at 7-7 a few minutes later on a 27-yard touchdown catch by D.J. Banks from Cameron. The Bulldogs took the lead on their next possession on a nine-yard touchdown rush from King. They scored their third straight touchdown just before the close of the first quarter on another rushing score from King.
The Illini halted the Louisiana Tech run early in the second quarter with a 26- yard field goal from Taylor Zalewski to make it 21-10.
Illinois brought its deficit to just four later in the second quarter following a one-yard touchdown rush from Young. The score would remain 21-17 heading into halftime.
Louisiana Tech wasted no time padding its lead in the third quarter as Cameron completed a 78-yard touchdown pass to Patton less than a minute into the second half.
The Bulldogs continued to pull away just a few minutes later with another Cameron-to-Patton touchdown connection (21 yards) to go up 35-17. They tacked on another score midway through the third quarter when Antonio Mitchum returned an Illinois fumble for a score.
Louisiana Tech added on more points before the end of the third quarter. A 33- yard field goal from Matt Nelson brought its lead to 45-17.
Cameron added yet another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, this time a 38- yard strike toMyles White. Illinois scored one more touchdown before the game was finished on a one-yard rush from Reilly O'Toole.
Louisiana Tech has now scored 50 or more points in each game this season.
Game Notes

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    Illinois falls apart in 2nd half of 52-24 setback

    Ineffective Scheelhaase yanked early as Illini never get untracked against Louisiana Tech

    September 22, 2012|By Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune reporter
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    • Louisiana Tech wide receiver D.J. Banks and Richie Casey celebrate after Banks's touchdown catch while Illini defensive back Justin Green walks back to the sideline during the first quarter.
    Louisiana Tech wide receiver D.J. Banks and Richie Casey celebrate after Banks's touchdown catch while Illini defensive back Justin Green walks back to the sideline during the first quarter. (Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE )
    CHAMPAIGN — Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase pumped his arm and danced in circles alone on the field as the seconds ticked down Saturday night before the Illini's game against Louisiana Tech, a likely release of pent-up energy from missing two games with a sprained ankle.
    But the Illini's good vibes didn't last long during Louisiana Tech's 52-24 victory.
    Before the first quarter was over at Memorial Stadium, Scheelhaase was relegated to the sideline, having thrown an interception and lost a fumble during his first playing time in more than nine quarters.
    That left sophomore Reilly O'Toole back in charge of trying to keep up with a Bulldogs offense that averaged 56 points in its first two victories.
    He and the Illini (2-2) couldn't, and a Western Athletic Conference opponent left Champaign with a program-enhancing victory.
    O'Toole completed 19 of 25 passes for 120 yards, but the Illini only managed one late touchdown in the second half amid several miscues. They lost five fumbles in the game, including one by O'Toole early in the fourth quarter.
    "(Scheelhaase) looked rusty early with a couple of turnovers," Illinois coach Tim Beckman said of the quarterback switch. "We weren't moving the ball and we decided as a coaching staff to give Reilly an opportunity."
    Meanwhile, the Illinois defensive psyche absorbed another blow two weeks after the Illini gave up 45 points in a loss to Arizona State.
    Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron showcased the quick-strike style of which the Illini warned early in the week, throwing for 284 yards and four touchdown passes, including a 78-yarder to wide receiver Quinton Patton early in the third quarter to help the Bulldogs (3-0) pull away from a 21-17 halftime lead.
    Earlier, Louisiana Tech running back Tevin King had two first-half touchdown runs.
    "I'm pretty sure I can speak for the rest of my teammates and say we're very embarrassed by this loss," Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan said. "We have to get things fixed.
    "(The problems were) poor tackling and guys just not being where they were supposed to be."
    Buchanan gave the defense a good start when he forced a Cameron fumble and teammate Tim Kynard recovered it at the Louisiana Tech 18-yard line in the first quarter. Scheelhaase found wide receiver Ryan Lankford for an 18-yard touchdown pass to put Illinois up 7-0.
    But Louisiana Tech linebacker Solomon Randle intercepted Scheelhaase on the Illini's next drive and Scheelhaase fumbled on a carry on the following Illini drive to set up O'Toole's entrance.
    Illinois disintegrated in the third quarter, when Louisiana Tech scored 10 points in a matter of three minutes off two big plays by the Bulldogs' Antonio Mitchum.
    Louisiana Tech's punt hit Illinois' Justin Green while he was blocking on the return unit, and Mitchum recovered it in the end zone to put Louisiana Tech up 42-17. After Mitchum forced and recovered a fumble by Illinois freshman running back Dami Ayoola on the ensuing drive, Bulldogs kicker Matt Nelson made a 32-yard field goal.
    Illinois' offense couldn't get much going in the second half and settled for just O'Toole's 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
    "You're not going to beat anybody when you turn the ball over as much as we did, plain and simple," O'Toole said. "We put some good drives together, but you can't turn the ball over."

    Louisiana Tech Blasts Illinois 52-24, Thanks to 6 Illini Turnovers

    Posted on: 12:13 am, September 23, 2012, by 
    Louisiana Tech came in to Champaign and dominated the Illini winning 52-24. Illinois didn’t help their cause, turning the ball over six times in the lopsided loss. Nathan Scheelhaase returned to the Illini lineup after missing two games with an ankle sprain. But the Illini QB left in the 2nd quarter after being ineffective.
    Reilly O’Toole came in for Scheelhaase and out up good number, 19 of 25 passes completed, but threw no touchdown passes. The llini fumbled the ball away five times and Scheelhaase threw one interception. Illinois drops to 2-2 on the season.
    Louisiana Tech improves to 3-0 and has scored 56, 56 and 52 points in their victories. In the win over the Illini, quarterback Colby Cameron threw for 284 yards and four TD passes. Bulldogs wide receiver Quinton Patton caught six passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

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