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Illinois jumps into top 10 with win over Wisconsin

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Will Clinton, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Will Clinton

    Will Clinton Walk On

    Jul 12, 2012
    One week after demanding respect from pollsters, the Illinois football team went out and grabbed the attention of the nation on Saturday. With over 300 yards and 3 TD’s from their sensational QB, the Fighting Illini went into hostile territory in Madison, Wisconsin to face an undefeated and NC hopeful Badgers team. By the time the bell had rung, there was no questioning whether or not the Illinois team was for real. With a FG as time expired, they pulled out a 3 point win after looking like they may run away with it in the 2nd half.

    For the game, Wisconsin dominated the stat sheet. They had sustained drive after sustained drive that led to points, but the fight in the Illinois team answered time and time again with big plays that have become a staple of their offense. At a time when Wisconsin had the opportunity to put the game just out of reach, the Illinois defense proved why they are one of the most overlooked units in college football.

    In the 1st qtr, Wisconsin jumped out to an early 7 point lead on Monte Ball’s 2 yd TD run, only to have QB Nathan Scheelhaase hit Donovonn Young on a screen pass on the next drive that ended in a 74 TD celebration. Wisconsin wasted no time scoring again, this time using a 1 yd catch by TE Jacob Pederson from QB Danny O’Brien to go up early in the 2nd qtr 14-7. The Illini wasted no time either, when, on the 2nd play of the next drive, Scheelhaase hit Young on a screen pass to the other side that resulted in a 59 yd TD to tie up the game at 14. After a couple of defensive stops for both teams, Wisconsin ended the half with a 24 yd TD scramble by Danny O’Brien to put them up 21-14 at the half.

    The 3rd qtr belonged solely to the Illini as Scheelhaase hit on 2 TD’s, one to James Halledorff from 45 yds out, and one to Tim Russell from 21 yds out, to go up 28-21. The defense ended the 3rd qtr as probably their best qtr of defense yet, where they held the Badgers scoreless and only gave up 3 or 4 first downs. They weren’t done yet though, as on the opening play of the 4th qtr, SS Steve Hull intercepted a dump off pass intended for the Wisconsin RB and took it 75 yards to pay dirt to put the Illini up comfortably, 35-21. Only the comfort didn’t last long as the back-up RB James White ran it in from 4 yards out, after starter Monte Ball was injured with an abdominal tear that will sideline him for at least the next week, to get within 7 at 35-28. After a big time defensive stand by the Badgers, they raced back down the field and ended the drive with a 1 yd TD catch by the other TE Sam Arneson to tie the game up at 35 with only :54 to go.

    Where most teams would be content to just be happy to be in a position to go to OT, Coach Clinton of the Illini grabbed his cojones and said let’s win this thing. After some masterful passing by Scheelhaase, ingenious time management by Coach Clinton, and using the run game to perfection, the Illini has a straight on 21 yd chipshot of a FG to try and win the game with just 2 ticks showing on the clock. After the obligatory TO to try and ice FG kicker Taylor Zalewski, he showed he had more than ice water flowing in his veins as he nailed the kick as time expired and the Illini bench cleared in jubilation.

    After the game, Coach Clinton had this to say.

    “We came in here with a purpose, and believing that we were as good as the #8 team in the country. We are leaving here with everyone KNOWING we were as good as them. They dominated every stat on the sheet, with the exception of passing, and even held our run game to 7yds on only 14 carries. Some people will say it’s luck, some people will say it’s a fluke. I say it’s the players we have as leaders. I’ll put up Nathan Scheelhaase against any other QB in the country and he is a Sophomore. Our defense was led today and every day by JR MLB Jonathon Brown. You want to talk about a kid who brings a lunch to work every day? Jonathon Brown is a man’s football player. Not flashy, doesn’t talk trash, just comes to work every Saturday, does his job and proves he is one of the top LB’s in the game. We will be lucky to hold on to him after the season is over. It’s up to us to go out next week and try to take care of business against another top Big10 team on the road in Michigan. It won’t be easy, but it wasn’t and hasn’t been easy all year.

    I’ll say this also, our kids deserve a win like this. They have been busting their tails from last spring, through 2 a days, and now into the 2nd half of our season. They deserve to enjoy this win tonight, take the day off tomorrow and come back ready to work on Monday.”
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

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