UPDATE: ILLINOIS LOSES 23-13. ANALYSIS TO COME IN THE NEXT DAY OR SO.
HERE ARE THE FINAL STATS.
Join Writing Illini after the jump for a live blogging experience for today’s Arch Rivalry game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Missouri Tigers, currently airing on Fox Sports Net/Comcast Sportsnet.
Announcers: Joel Meyers and Dave Lapham.
Heading into the television break, Lapham describes Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase as having an adequate enough arm. Not exactly the highest praise. On the other hand, Missouri sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith is getting the pregame praise.
In television commercial. Kickoff is minutes away.
The Illini take the field in their white uniforms; Missouri in the black and gold. Missouri has won the toss and will receive. Illinois’ young defensive secondary will be tested early. Derek Dimke kicks the ball, and Jasper Simmons returns the ball to the 21-yard line. Running back Jason Ford with the tackle.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 21: Blaine Gabbert lines up in shotgun and with five receivers. Gabbart’s throw is behind his receiver on first down. Mizzou in shotgun on 2nd and 10. Gabbert hits tight end Michael Egnew for no gain. Great tackle by Travon Bellamy. 3rd and 10: a scrambling Gabbert is nearly sacked by Clay Nurse, and his pass down field is incomplete. Jack Ramsey fair catches the ball at the Illinois 31-yard-line. Great start for the Illini.
Illini force three-and-out on game’s first possession.
1st and 10 Illinois from its own 31: Illinois in shotgun. Scheelhaase hands off to Mikel Leshoure, who was stuffed but fought the initial tackle to get six yards. On 2nd and 4, Scheelhaase keeps the ball on a fake handoff and runs for 2 yards. 3rd and 2 for the Illini: Leshoure up the gut for a first down. Illinois moves the chains.
1st and 10: Scheelhaase with a fake pitch to Leshore on a naked bootleg and hits Jarred Fayson for six yards. Fayson got smacked on that play. 2nd and 4: Leshore runs to the short side of the field and gets 3 yards. 3rd and 1: Illinois doing a good job of getting manageable yards and distance. Scheelhaase with another naked bootleg and runs for a first down, down to the Missouri 38.
1st and 10 from Missouri 38. Scheelhaase in the gun and hands off to Jason Ford for a good gain of 4 yards. 2nd and 6 from the Mizzou 34: Scheelhaase in the gun and Illinois with no back in the backfield. Scheelhaase’s pass is over the head of A.J. Jenkins. A little nerves on that throw. 3rd and 6: False start on Illini left tackle Jeff Allen but there will be a late hit on Scheelhaase, who got drilled by Missouri defensive tackle Smith. Personal foul and automatic first down.
1st and 10 Illinois from the Missouri 26. Jason Ford is swallowed up on first down, losing three yards as Missouri gets great pressure. 2nd and 13: Scheelhaase with the quarterback keeper and gets 8 yards to the Missouri 20-yard line. 3rd and 5 with 8:24 to go: Scheelhaase drills Jarred Fayson right at the marker for an Illini first down. Beautiful catch and throw.
1st and 10 Illinois inside the Mizzou 20: Leshoure runs up the gut to the Missouri 8-yard line. 2nd and 4: Leshoure up the gut for a first down.
1st and goal Illinois from the Missouri 4-yard line: Illinois is winning the battle up front early. Another false start on the Illini, again on Jeff Allen. 1st and goal Illinois from the 9-yard line. Illinois takes a timeout with the play clock down. 6:36 remaining. Illinois off to a great start here. Solid ball control and job by offensive coordinator Paul Petrino of getting small chunks at a time via the Illini running game of Scheelhaase and Leshoure. Couldn’t ask for a better start.
1st and goal Illinois from the Missouri 9. Scheelhaase with 21 rushing yards and 12 passing yards. Scheelhaase in the gun and will keep the ball after a high snap from center Graham Pocic. 2nd and goal from the seven: Scheelhaase with another quarterback keeper, running to the 3-yard line. Big play here. 3rd and goal from the three: Illinois barely gets the play off and Scheelhaase avoids a sack by Aldon Smith before being pushed out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Derek Dimke from 22-yards. The kick is good. Illinois leads 3-0.
Great opening drive for Illinois, keeping Mizzou off the field and controlling time of possession game. Would have liked to finish with a touchdown, but the Illini looked a bit frazzled and conservative inside the 10-yard line. Such are the growing pains of an offense with a redshirt freshman quarterback and new offensive coordinator.This will be Illinois’ recipe to win: keep Missouri off the field and have Scheelhaase be a game manager who most often uses his feet and occasionally uses his arm.
Back from the television break. 4:48 remaining in the first quarter. 17 plays, 64 yards, 9:14 on that possession. Dimke kicks off and Simmons is wrapped up at the 22-yard line. Great special teams coverage again by the Illini. Another television timeout.
1st and 10 Missouri from the 20. Gabbert hits tight end Michael Egnew on a short screen for about 8 yards. 2nd and 2 from the Illinois 28: Missouri with five receivers again and Gabbert fires the ball out of bounds as Illinois rushes only three players. Corey Liuget with some nice pressure on that play. 3rd and 3: Gabbert hits Jerrell Jackson on the sideline for a first down. Trulon Henry with a big hit.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 41: Missouri with a bubble screen to Wes Kemp to the Illini 40. A missed tackle there as that play should have been about a yard or two. Gabbert in the gun and runs up the gut for nothing on first down. Michale Buchanan with the tackle. 2nd and 10: Gabbert up the middle and fumbles the ball. Nate Bussey recovers the ball after Martez Wilson knocked it out.
Illinois comes up with big turnover just when the Missouri offense was picking up steam.
First and 10 Illinois from the 35: Scheelhaase in the gun and runs to the Illinois 49.
1st and 10 from Illinois 49: Leshoure runs for 3 yards to the Missouri 48. 2nd and 7 with 2 minutes remaining: Jason Ford up the gut out of the gun for a run of 5 yards. 3rd and 2 from Missouri 44: Big conversion here. Scheelhaase in gun, fakes the run and hits A.J. Jenkins for a first down. However, Randall Hunt with a hold and the play will come back. Big penalty. 3rd and 12 from Illinois 46: be careful here. Don’t need a bad mistake. And the Illini turn it over. Scheelhaase ran out of the gun and had the ball popped away from him after picking up about 10 yards.
Illinois turns it right back on the Scheelhaase fumble.
1st and 10 Missouri from 48: Gabbert hits T.J. Moe for about 8 yards. Good hit by Steve Hull. 2nd and 2: Moe with a reception to the Illinois 38.
1st and 10 from 38: Missouri’s first running play by a back results in Kendial Lawrence getting a yard. Nice tackle by Ian Thomas.
End of the first quarter: Illinois leads 3-0 but Missouri is driving. The Illini controlled that quarter, but Scheelhaase’s turnover hurts. Missouri is starting to pick up the pace in the last 2 minutes. This should be 7-3 in a bit. Good time for the quarter to end and for the Illini to regroup. Got to continue to slow this game down. Gabbert is 6-9 for 60 yards.
2nd and 9 Mizzou from the Illinois 35: Running back Kendial Lawrence rips off a nice run and is close to the first-down marker. He got it.
1st and 10 from Illinois 27: Gabbert throws the ball up in the end zone and Bellamy is called for pass interference in the end zone. He didn’t even see the ball there. However, the receiver ran out of bounds on this play. This will be off-setting penalties. Illinois catches a big break. 2nd and 10 Missouri from the Illinois 27: Lawrence loses two yards as Ian Thomas slams him. Good pursuit there as Missouri is handing off the ball out of the gun with the running back in motion and then setting. Big 3rd and 12: Gabbert in the gun and hits Moe to the 20-yard line. Nice stop by redshirt freshman Steve Hull, who was just moved from offense to defense due to injuries. 4th and 3: Missouri will kick a 37-yard field goal and Grant Ressel misses it. Wide right there after a high snap.
The Illini stay strong and don’t let Missouri score after the Scheelhaase fumble. Huge swing here with the missed Ressel field goal. Ian Thomas and Steve Hull are having a nice impact for Illinois, which is fighting hard. Got to get back to slowing this game down and pounding the rock with Leshoure.
1st and 10 Illinois from its own 20 with 13:08 to go. Leshoure is swallowed up for no gain on the short side of the field on first down. 2nd and 10 from the 20: Scheelhaase in the gun and has his pass down field intercepted at the Missouri 40-yard line. Bad throw there as Scheelhaase was looking for Eddie McGee off the play-action pass. That play wasn’t there. Freshman mistake.
Missouri gets ball back on Scheelhaase interception.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 40: De’Vion Moore runs for 8 yards as Martez Wilson makes the tackle. 2nd and 2: Ian Thomas with another tackle, stuffing Moore short of the first down. 3rd and 1 from the 49: Gabbert in the gun and hands off to Moore, who keeps his balance and gets a first down before getting smacked by Hull.
1st and 10 MU from Illinois 45: Illinois blitzes but Gabbert hits Moe for 8 yards. Tavon Wilson with a big tackle there. 2nd and 3: Henry Josey runs for a first down.
1st and 10 Missouri from the Illinois 28 : Moore is stuffed for no gain. 2nd and 10 from the Illini 28: Gabbert in the gun and hits Kemp for two yards. Big 3rd and 8 from the 25: Gabbert hits Moe to the 15-yard line.
1st and 10 from the Illinois 15: Gabbert hands off to Lawrence and he is stuffed at the line by Akeem Spence. 2nd and 10: Gabbert’s pass is batted into the air by Michael Buchanan and incomplete. That’s two nice plays early on by Buchanan. 3rd and 10 with 7:38 to go: Gabbert checks down and hits Lawrence for a yard. Nice tackle by Bellamy as the Illini hold again. Ressel from 32-yards and the kick is good.
The game is tied at 3 with 6:56 remaining. Give credit to the Illinois defense, which has bent but not broken during the last 2 possessions following Scheelhaase turnovers. Time for the offense to do some more naked bootlegs. Need a long possession here, with Illinois getting the ball to start the second half.
Missouri kicks off to Jack Ramsey, who had a brief lane and returns the ball to the Illini 27. However, there is a flag on the play. Holding on Justin Staples. Illinois is hurting itself with turnovers and penalties. Yet another t.v. timeout. This is the key possession of the game thus far. Illinois needs to give the defense a breather and get Scheelhaase back on track. Hopefully, Petrino will dial up some more dual-running plays out of the shotgun, which worked well on the first possession.
1st and 10 Illinois from its own 18: Scheelhaase in the gun and keeps the ball for 3 yards. 2nd and 7: Scheelhaase under center and Leshoure rattles off a big run to the outside for 42 yards.
1st and 10 Illinois from the Missouri 42: Leshoure loses 3 yards on another hand off. 2nd and 13: Leshoure up the gut to the original line of scrimmage. 3rd and 10 from the 38: Scheelhaase’s pass to A.J. Jenkins on the sidelines is incomplete, but there is pass interference on Missouri.
1st and 10 Illinois from the Missouri 23: Scheelhaase in the gun and loses 1 yard. Scheelhaase looked a bit uncertain about when to hand off the ball on that play. 2nd and 11 from the 24 with 3:50 remaining: Scheelhaase hits Jenkins on a simple pass over the middle, and the Illini junior takes the ball to the Missouri 11. A simple but very effective play.
1st and 10 from Missouri 11: Scheelhaase’s snap count looks like it caused Missouri to jump offside, but Scheelhaase is called for a false start. He bobbed his head. 1st and 15 from the 16: Scheelhaase in the gun and hands to Leshoure for 3 yards. 2nd and 12 from the 13: Scheelhaase in shotgun and hits A.J. Jenkins over the middle for a touchdown. Scheelhaase got rid of that ball just in time. Missouri brought pressure from the opposite side, but Scheelhaase found Jenkins before getting blindsided. Dimke makes the field goal.
Illinois leads 10-3 with 2:10 remaining after a Scheelhaase touchdown pass to Jenkins, who made a nice play when grabbing that pass, which was a little high. Great job by the Illini of reestablishing this game. Huge possession from the defense here as Mizzou is going to really push the tempo in 2-minute offense. Got to hold and get out of the half with the lead. Illinois is dominating the time of possession game. A couple of turnovers and penalties have hurt the Illini, which is surprising the naysayers in the first 30 minutes.
Dimke set to kick off and does to Simmons, who is tackled at the 20 by Antonio Gully. Illinois with great special teams coverage thus far. There has only been 1 punt in this game thus far.
1st and 10 Missouri from its 20: Gabbert hits Egnew for 10 yards. 2nd and 1 from 30: Illinois rushing only 3 and Moe catches the ball for a first down.
1st and 10: Gabbert hits Jackson over the middle for a first down.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 48: Liuget knocks Gabbert’s pass down. 2nd and 10: Gabbert pump fakes and Kemp drops a wide open pass over the middle. That pass was a little low but should have been caught. 3rd and 10: Great pressure by Clay Nurse, and Liuget and Martez Wilson drag Gabbert down at the 33. Illinois holds again and takes a timeout with 49 seconds left. 4th and 10: Jack Ramsey catches the ball at the 30 and is hammered at the 32.
The Illini defense does the job again. Great first half for this unit, including hard-hitting from the linebackers and defensive backs, and good pressure from the front-four.
1st and 10 Illinois from the 31: Scheelhaase in the gun and makes a smart play, running the ball out of bounds rather than forcing a throw. 2nd and 5: Scheelhaase picks up a first down by rushing to the Illini 49.
1st and 10 from the 49: Scheelhaase hits Fayson for a yard, and Illinois takes a timeout with 19 seconds left. No turnovers here.
2nd and 9 from the 48: Scheelhaase throws the ball out of bounds after Missouri came with some good pressure from the front four. 12 seconds left here. 3rd and 9: Illinois called for a delay of game. 3rd and 12: keep it simple here and go to Leshoure if Illinois is smart. 3rd and 14: Scheelhaase in the gun and runs to the Missouri 35 with 4 seconds left. Dimke will try a 52-yard field goal. Dimke makes the field goal. Hell yeah.
Dimke drills a 52-yard field goal and Illinois leads 13-3 at the break! Give a lot of credit to Scheelhaase there on that possession — he got the Illini three points by using his feet. Good bounce back for the freshman after two turnovers earlier in the half. Illinois gets the ball to start second half. Continue to grind this out.
Illinois with the shocker at the break, leading by 10. Illinois has controlled the time of possession and the defense has held Missouri when it had to, especially after two turnovers. Missouri looked out of sync all half, but is a quick strike team that can score quickly. It would be great to see Illinois rip off another big run from Leshoure early in the second half. Give credit to Petrino and Koenning: they’ve kept it simple but altered things just enough to keep Missouri off balance. Couldn’t have asked for a better first 30 minutes, with the exception of scoring on Illinois’ first drive and limiting those turnovers. Illinois has gotten all of the breaks, and Missouri has left some plays on the field, but the Illini aren’t complaining. With the exception of a couple false starts and an Illini holding call, the offensive line had a really nice first half.
Second half is ready to begin. Huge possession for the Illini. Would love to run off a good 6-7 minutes and get another score to put some pressure on Missouri. Scheelhaase was 5-8 for 39 yards but ran for 82 yards in the first half. Illinois won the time of possession 17:50 to 12:10.
Jack Ramsey receives the opening kickoff and returns it to the Illini 30. 1st and 10 from the 30: Scheelhaase in the gun and hands off to Leshoure for about 2-3 yards. 2nd and 7: Scheelhaase under the center and hands to Leshoure for 2 yards. 3rd and 5: huge play here. Scheelhaase in the gun and Illinois with 5 receivers. Scheelhaase is sacked by Aldon Smith. A three-and-out to start the half, as Smith abused the Illini line there. Santella with his first punt of the game and kicks it to the Mizzou 23, where the Illini make the tackle.
Illinois three-and-out to start second half.
1st and 10 from 23: Gabbert hits Egnew for 17 yards.
1st and 10 from 40: Lawrence runs for two yards off a screen pass and is hammered by Thomas. 2nd and 8: Gabbert hits Egnew for two yards. Ian Thomas was there again and is having a great game. 3rd and 5 from 45: Gabbert hits Egnew at the 50 for a first down. Egnew got hammed there but did a nice job of securing that high pass.
1st and 10 Missouri from the Illini 49: Moore rattles off a big run of 23 yards off a shotgun hand off.
1st and 10 from Illini 27: Gabbert hits Jackson for 7 yards. The pace is picking up quickly. 2nd and 3: Lawrence runs for 9 yards to the 11-yard line. Not even 5 minutes into the second half.
1st and 10 from Illini 11: Gabbert overthrows Washington in the corner of end zone. Justin Green with the coverage. Gabbert hits Moe on a screen to the seven yard line. Nice tackle by Bussey and another big third down. 3rd and 5 from 7: Gabbert takes a timeout.
Missouri is at the Illini 7, facing a 3rd and 5 as the Tigers have come out strong since halftime. Illinois had a three and out, and Missouri is pushing the tempo. If Illinois could hold to a field goal here, that would be a huge win. With that said, don’t feel good coming out of the break about where Illinois is on the field and with what Missouri can do in this situation. We’re barely 5 minutes into the second half and the momentum has quickly changed. Can the Illini hold again?
3rd and 5 for Mizzou from the Illini 7: Gabbert in the gun and hits Moe in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Good pressure from the Illini front four but Gabbert’s mobility made that play happen. Moe looked out of bounds but kept his feet in. The PAT is good. Illinois leads 13-10. That touchdown wouldn’t have counted in the pros, but it does in college.
Missouri has cut the Illini lead to 13-10 on a Gabbert touchdown pass to Moe with 9:58 remaining. That was the definition of a quick-strike offense. Not the way Illinois wanted to start the second half but not that surprising when considering Missouri’s ability to move the ball. Got to get back to the time of possession game on offense and balance the conservative with some aggressive play calling. Need a big run here from Scheelhaase or Leshoure.
Ramsey returns the kickoff to the Illini 23. He is down for a minute with a cramp. 1st and 10 from the Illinois 23: Scheelhaase is under center and fakes a pitch before nearly getting sacked. Good awareness there by Scheelhaase who avoided the sack and through the ball away. Close to intentional grounding but it wasn’t. 2nd and 10: Leshoure runs for 3 yards with Scheelhaase under center. 3rd and 7: Illinois needs to make a play in the passing game here. Huge play, biggest of the game thus far. 3rd and 7: Scheelhaase hits Jenkins, who drops the pass. Illinois with another three and out, with 8:54 remaining. This game has shifted very quickly. Santella’s punt is downed at the Missouri 37.
1: 44 p.m.
Illinois can’t move the chains as Jenkins dropped a pass on third down. Illinois ran off just 1 minute on that possession. Trouble time for the Illini as Missouri has seized the momentum. There is still 8:46 to go in the third. That doesn’t bode well for Illinois, which won the time of possession in the first half but can’t stay on the field early in the second 30 minutes.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 37: Moore rattles off 13 yards to the 50.
1st and 10 from 50: Moore drops an open pass at the 40-yard line as Illinois only brought a 3-man rush. 2nd and 10: Gabbert hits Kemp to the Illini 10 with a one-handed catch, but this will probably be offensive pass interference. It is. Big break for the Illini, and not a bad job by Justin Green there, who just converted to cornerback from running back last week. 2nd and 25 from the Missouri 35: Gabbert hits Kemp over the middle for 25 yards.
1st and 10 from the 40: Gabbert hits Moore for 10 yards.
1st and 10: Lawrence is hammered by Tavon Wilson on a sweep. Penalty on Missouri — illegal shift on that play. 1st and 15 from the Illini 39: Moe is hammered by Nate Bussey after a catch for a three-yard loss. Great hit there. 2nd and 17 from the Illinois 42: Bussey hammers Moe again, knocking his helmet off on a 4-yard loss. 3rd and 21: Gabbert goes end zone and misses Kemp, who had a couple of steps on Green. Illinois gets lucky. Missouri will have to punt. 4th and 21: Ramsey with a fair catch at the Illini 15 with 5:53.
Illinois holds defensively thanks to Nate Bussey and an overthrow from Gabbert.
1st and 10 Illinois from its own 15: Leshoure runs for 1-yard. Missouri is winning line of scrimmage in second half. 2nd and 9: Illinois takes a timeout with 5:16 — a good one in my opinion. Need to regroup here. Scheelhaase is getting hammered as Mizzou has been hitting this half.
2nd and 9 from Illinois 16: Scheelhaase in the gun and hits Jenkins for about 6 yards, making it a manageable third down. Good throw and catch, with Jenkins getting hammered after that catch. 3rd and 4: Scheelhaase in gun, rolls out and hits Jarred Fayson for a first down. Good play call and better execution.
1st and 10 Illinois from the 30: Scheelhaase with a pitch to Leshoure on the short side of the field, and the Illini lose 3 yards on that play. Nothing was there on that play. 2nd and 13 from the 27: Scheelhaase in the gun but Jenkins can’t hold onto a pass. That pass was too slow as Jenkins got smacked right as the ball arrived. 3rd and 13: Scheelhaase in the gun and tries to run but gets hammered by Brad Madison. Santella to punt and drills one to the Missouri 31. Good punt with Missouri bringing the pressure.
Illinois can’t stay on the field this half as Missouri is flying around defensively.
1st and 10 Missouri from the 31: Gabbert hits Egnew for 4-yards. 2nd and 6: Liuget eats up Lawrence on a running play. Great pressure. 3rd and 7 from the 34: Gabbert hits Moe for 8 yards and a first down.
1st and 10 from the Missouri 42: Mizzou tries to run an option and Illinois eats it up for no gain. Good containment by Buchanan. 2nd and 10: Gabbert hits a Missouri receiver for 15 yards. Illini bringing just 3-man front.
1st and 10 Missouri from the Illini 46: Moore runs for 6 yards as the third quarter ends.
At the end of the third quarter, Illinois is clinging to a 13-10 lead with Missouri driving and at the Illini 40. Illinois’ defensive is looking a bit tired and spent most of that quarter on the field. The Illini offense did nothing on three possessions, getting just one first down. Missouri has the game under control, and the Illinois lead is tenuous at best. The pace of the game has clearly swung to the up-tempo style that the Tigers prefer. It seems like a matter of when as opposed to if Missouri takes the lead.
2nd and 4 Missouri from the Illini 37: Gabbert hits Moe for a short gainer, but Trulon Henry misses a tackle. Moe takes the ball down to the Illini 11.
1st and 10 from the 11: Moore runs for 2 yards, with Ian Thomas making the tackle. 2nd and 8 from the Illini 9: Gabbert on the keeper and Illini defensive end Whitney Mercilus makes a touchdown saving tackle. 3rd and 5 from the 6: Gabbert hits a wide-open Egnew in the end zone for a touchdown. Some confusion there for the Illini, with Bellamy failing to pick up the Mizzou tight end. Missouri leads 17-13 with 13:16 to go.
As expected, Missouri has taken the lead, on Gabbert’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Egnew. The Illini defense broke down on the score but has been doing its best in the second half. It’s time for the offense to step up here. It doesn’t look good though as Missouri has controlled the pace of the second half. Illinois has not been able to establish the methodical game, and the defense has been on the field for too long. Given Missouri’s quick-strike capabilities, it’s surprising that the defense held on to the lead this late in the game. Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe is killing the Illini, and Gabbert is picking apart a defense that is a bit too conservative in terms of sending pressure beyond what it’s getting from the defensive line.
True freshman Darius Millines is swarmed at the Illini 19 on the kickoff. 1st and 10 from the 19: Scheelhaase under center and hands off to Jason Ford for 2 yards. Tough run, but Missouri is cutting off the Illini rushing attack. 2nd and 8 from the 21: Scheelhaase in the gun and his pass down the sideline is picked off by Missouri’s Carl Gettis, who made a nasty one-handed interception. That was a ridiculous pick and an under-thrown pass by Scheelhaase.
Scheelhaase throws second interception of game.
1st and 10 Missouri from the Illini 43: Moore is swarmed and loses 4 yards. 2nd and 14: Moe makes a catch over the middle but is hammered by Bellamy. 3rd and 7 from the 40: Great pressure by Clay Nurse as Gabbert’s throwback screen is incomplete. Great job by the Illini defense, stepping up and getting a three and out after the Scheelhaase pick. 4th and 7: Missouri punts the ball and Gettis pins the ball at the one-yard line.
The Illini defense holds strong after a Scheelhaase pick, forcing a three and out. The bad news: Mizzou has pinned Illinois down at the one-yard line. This could get ugly down here if the Illini aren’t careful. With that said, Illinois is struggling to pick up anything in the running game, and I’m not sure a run up the gut will get the Illini much. Not only is it a danger time for the Illini, but a danger zone, trailing 17-13 with 10:57 to go in the fourth.
1st and 10 Illinois from its own 1: Scheelhaase under center and Leshoure picks up 4 humongous yards. Nice job of picking and weaving there. 2nd and 6 from the 5: Leshoure runs for 3 yards. 3rd and 3 for the Illini: how about a bootleg here? Got to get Scheelhaase out of the pocket in my opinion. Here we go. Scheelhaase in gun and is pass is knocked down. Didn’t like that call there. It was a very conservative screen that was lucky not to be intercepted. Santella with a big punt here and drills it to the Missouri 40. Gettis returns the ball to the Illini 45 before the television timeout.
Illinois with another three and out. The offense has been conservative in the second half and not as creative as in the first half. The biggest thing has been that Missouri has gotten good pressure all second half. Now the defense must hold again to nothing more than a field goal with the Tigers starting their second straight possession in Illini territory.
Can the Illini defense hold strong again? 1st and 10 Missouri from the Illini 45: Gabbert hits Jackson for a first down. He looked out of bounds on that catch at the 30, but he wasn’t.
1st and 10 from the 30: Gabbert’s pass to Jackson in the end zone is knocked down by Bellamy, who made a great play to save a touchdown. Good coverage there. 2nd and 10: Gabbert hits Egnew for three yards with Thomas making another tackles. Big 3rd and 7 with 8:50 to go: Gabbert scrambles and hits L’Damian Washington for a first down. That play was created all by Gabbert’s mobility.
1st and 10: Lawrence runs for a couple of yards. 2nd and 6: Moore runs for 2 yards. 3rd and 3 from the Illini 9: Gabbert overthrows Moe. Illinois catches a break and the defense does the job again. Ressel will try a 25-yard field goal and he makes it. 20-13 Missouri with 7:21 to go.
Missouri leads 20-13 as Illinois forces a field goal after the Tigers got into the red zone. Give a lot of credit to the Illini defense this afternoon. They’ve played with great heart and really kept the team in the game here in the second half. Now it’s time for the offense to do something. The good news: Mizzou is kicking off, which could allow the Illini to swing the field position a bit. The bad news: Illinois has been too close to the vest this half, and the Missouri line is winning the battle upfront. It’s time for someone on the offense to make a play. Does Illinois have a trick special teams play up its sleeve: perhaps a reverse? Now would be a good time to try something and regain the momentum.
Missouri kicks a high one to Troy Pollard, who gets the ball out to the Illinois 30. Illinois with some breathing room here — now you’ve got to get aggressive. 1st and 10 from 30: Scheelhaase in gun and throws high to Eddie McGee over the middle. Illinois was lucky that that pass wasn’t picked. Bad touch on that pass there. 2nd and 10: Illinois in the shotgun and Leshoure rips off a 27-yard run. Illinois finally finds a hole in the second half.
1st and 10 from the Missouri 43: Scheelhaase runs for 5 yards out of the shotgun. Good decision there. 2nd and 5 with 6:29 to go as a Missouri player was hurt on the play. Scheelhaase in the gun and Troy Pollard runs for a first down in the spread. Tough run up the middle.
1st and 10 Illinois from the Missouri 32: Scheelhaase is intercepted over the middle by Kenji Jackson, who returns it deep into Illini territory. Two penalties by Missouri will bring the ball back, though the interception stands. Another bad throw in the short passing game by Scheelhaase, who has 4 turnovers. Missouri will actually have the ball on its own 25 due to where the penalties occurred. Illinois catches a break there.
1st and 10 Missouri from its 25: Gabbert hits Egnew for about 7 yards. 2nd and 3: Moore picks his way for a first down.
1st and 10 Missouri from its own 35: Illinois holds Marcus Murphy to a one-yard run. 2nd and 9 from the 36 with 4 minutes to go: Gabbert throws the ball away as Martez Wilson brought some delayed pressure. 3rd and 9: another big third down for Illinois. Gabbert’s pass to Egnew is incomplete at the yard marker. Egnew couldn’t hold on. Illinois holds again. Jarred Fayson back to return and is tackled at the 21.
Illinois’ defense has kept the team alive, stopping Missouri after another Scheelhaase pick. Illinois has the ball at its own 21 with 3:30 to go.
1st and 10 from the 21: Scheelhaase hits McGee for 4 yards. 2nd and 6: Leshoure runs for a yard. 3rd and 5: Scheelhaase’s pass to Jenkins is behind the receiver. However, there is a flag on the play. False start on the Illini. Illinois will replay the down. 3rd and 11 from the 20: Scheelhaase throws the ball away but is hammered out of bounds. That’s a late hit and the Illini will keep the ball on the penalty. A huge break. Hold on. Illinois had an ineligible player down field, so the penalties offset and the down will be replayed. 3rd and 10: Aldon Smith gets good pressure and Scheelhaase throws the ball away. Illinois’ line is getting destroyed in the second half. 4th and 10 Illinois from its own 20 with about 2 minutes left. Illinois will take a timeout and have to go for it.
4th and 10 Illinois from its own 20 with 2:18 left. Scheelhaase avoids a sack and throws the ball down field. LeShoure catches it past the 50-yard line but is ruled out of bounds. This play will be reviewed, but Leshoure’s left foot was slightly out of bounds. Great scramble by Scheelhaase and a tough break for the Illini and Leshoure, who couldn’t tip toe the sidelines. A booth review with 2:08 to go. Expect this call to go to Missouri. Illinois with 1 timeout left and can only stop the clock once.
As expected, the ruling on the field stands. Missouri gets the ball at the Illinois 21 and this game is likely over.
1st and 10 Missouri from the Illini 21: Moore runs for 6 yards and Illinois doesn’t take the timeout. 2nd and 4: Missouri runs for a couple of yards and Illinois uses its last timeout with 1:17 to go. 3rd and 2: Gabbert runs and is stopped by Martez Wilson short of the first down. Missouri will run the clock down and kick a field goal. We’re at 40 seconds here. Mizzou takes a timeout at 31 seconds. Ressel hits a 34-yard field goal with 27 seconds left.
Ressel’s 34-yard field goal officially puts the game away with 27 seconds left. Illinois trails 23-13 after leading 13-3 at the break.
Up man Bud Golden receives the kick and is tackled at the 33. 1st and 10 from the 33: Scheelhaase in the gun and has his pass to Leshoure deflected. 2nd and 10: Scheelhaase in gun with 17 seconds left and hits Eddie McGee to the Mizzou 38-yard line.
1st and 10: Scheelhaase scrambles and throws the ball away. The game is over.
Illinois loses 23-13, a final score that was closer than many thought the game would be but still tough to swallow.
The Illini played a great first half, controlling the tempo with the running game and getting a strong defensive effort. In the second half, Missouri won the battle at the line of scrimmage, stuffing the Illini rushing attack. Illinois was a bit too conservative with its play-calling and Scheelhaase struggled with his passing touch all game, as evidenced by throwing 3 interceptions, tossing a handful of high throws and keeping the ball in his hands a bit too late on several plays. A tough debut for the redshirt freshman, who was decent in the first half considering the circumstances (his first career start and inexperience) but ineffective in the second half. His 4 turnovers were costly.
On the positive side of things, Illinois’ defense played a really strong game, bending but not breaking and really keeping the Illini within striking distance in a one-sided final 30 minutes. Considering the Illini’s defensive injuries, the effort was better than expected. Missouri really controlled the last 30 minutes, and the final score could have been much worse had it not been for the defense holding the Tigers to field goals instead of touchdowns. The offense just wasn’t able to do anything in the second half, and the defense had to spend too much time on the field.
Coming tomorrow, Writing Illini will have more analysis on the loss.
Topics: Aldon Smith, Arch Rivalry, Border War, Braggin' Rights, Dave Lapham, Football, Gary Pinkel, Illini Football, Illinois Fighting Illini Football, Illinois Football, Jack Ramsey, Jeff Allen, Joel Meyers, Justin Green, Missouri Football, Missouri Tigers Football, Mizzou Football, Nate Bussey, Nathan Scheelhaase, Ron Zook