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With two Big Ten games under my belt from Thursday and Friday, I locked in on the four early Big Ten games Saturday. Here are my Snap Reactions, where I list the three things I learned from each game. What did you learn? Come tell me in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
With quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams. The Illini opened up a 17-0 lead but their offense stalled when Scheelhaase left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.
In the third quarter, Alex Carder fought back for Western Michigan. He threw for 124 yards and one touchdown, but the Broncos have closed the gap to 17-7. Western Michigan closed the gap to 17-7 when Carder found Jaime Wilson open for an eight-yard touchdown pass to finish off a 57-yard drive. At first, Wilson appeared to fumble before scoring but the touchdown call on the field was confirmed.
Illinois’ defense held tough in the second quarter, holding Western Michigan to 17 total yards of offense and the Fighting Illini now lead 17-0. Illinois held the Broncos to negative rushing yardage (-4 yards) in the quarter.
Illinois got things going through the air, passing for 80 yards in the quarter, and the Fighting Illini lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. Illinois got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a four-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a score when Nathan Scheelhaase found Ryan Lankford open for a 64-yard touchdown pass.
This is the first edition of a new weekly post where I will look at one key question for each team in a piece called: 12 Teams, 12 Questions. I’ll roll these out every Tuesday and look forward to hearing what you think about your team and your team’s games.