Illinois Stuns Cincinnati 45-17, Improves To 2-0
By The Associated Press, With Additional Reporting from Illinois Public Media
Nathan Scheelhaase passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns to lead Illinois to a surprise 45-17 win Saturday over Cincinnati.
The Illini (2-0) went up 21-0 in the second quarter and survived a Bearcat rally to stay undefeated.
"It was a team win and a coaching staff win, it's got nothing to do with me," said Coach Tim Beckman, citing the improvement over last week's 42-34 win over Southern Illinois. "It's got everything to do with these players. They believe in what they're doing."
For the Bearcats (1-1) the loss was made worse by quarterback Munchie Legaux's injury. He left in the fourth quarter on a cart with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. Details were not immediately available.
Scheelhaase threw to 11 different receivers. The biggest catch was Steve Hull's 22-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. It capped a 99-yard drive and put Illinois up 28-10.
That drive was set up by Legaux's fumble on a fourth-down play at the Illinois goal line. It was first ruled a touchdown but a review revealed Legaux fumbled after a hard hit by Earnest Thomas.
Beckman said his players are understanding what it means to make things happen on 3rd downs.
"It was players making plays," he said. "If you're going to continue to drive, you've got to be successful on third downs."
Legaux was 17-31 for 237 yards and a touchdown.
Illinois takes on Washington (1-0) at Soldier Field in Chicago next Saturday.
UPDATE ON LEGAUX SUNDAY: Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux has been transferred to a local hospital after a gruesome knee injury landed him in the hospital in Illinois.
Legaux was injured in the fourth quarter of the Bearcats' 45-17 loss to Illinois on Saturday. He was hit low while trying to pass and his left leg bent awkwardly.
He was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital. The school says in a news release that he was transported to UC Medical Center in Cincinnati on Sunday.
The senior from New Orleans started Cincinnati's first two games, though Brendon Kay had received playing time at quarterback against the Illini.