On April 12th, the Illinois Fighting Illini held their annual Spring Game. In his second year as head coach of the Illini, Tim Beckman decided to play the game on under the lights at Memorial Stadium for the first time ever.
The Blue team looked like the better team on Friday night. By the 5:43 mark in the second quarter, they had jumped out to a 28-0 lead. Running back Donovonn Young scored two of his three total touchdowns and defensive back Taylor Barton returned an interception for a touchdown during this scoring streak.
They would end the first half leading 28-7 after the Orange team scored off of a Reilly O’Toole touchdown pass to Evan Wilson with just under a minute left in the half.
However, the second half seemed to be all Orange as they scored 21 points, but still ended up losing in the end.
It was the Blue’s only second half score which came in the form of another Young touchdown that won them the 2013 Spring Game.
Although they almost blew it in the second half, the Blue team looked like the better team for the Illini.
Nathan Scheelhaase completed 24-of-32 passes for 210 yards and threw one touchdown compared to O’Toole who completed 34-of-52 passes for 362 yards, but threw four interceptions.
O’Toole might have had more attempts, completions, and yards than Scheelhaase, but that’s because the Orange team was playing from behind the entire spring game.
The real game changer for the Blue team on Friday was Donovonn Young. He ran for 86 yards on nineteen carries and scored three of the Blue’s five touchdowns.
Tim Beckman has to be happy with what he saw from some of the new arrivals for Illinois based on their performances on Friday night.
Sophomore Mike Svetina and redshirt freshman B.J. Bello led the team with eleven tackles each. The Blue team also received a spark from St. Xavier University transfer Clayton Fejedelem. Fejedelem recorded eight tackles in the game. He also intercepted one pass and broke up two others.
For the Orange, they were led defensively by freshman defensive back Darius Mosley. He led the team with ten total tackles.
Overall, Illinois fans saw some good things out of their Fighting Illini in this year’s spring game.
Illinois will be looking for a better season in Beckman’s second year as head coach and they should be able to provide just that if Donovonn Young performs at the same level he played at on Friday.
2013 Spring Awards (presented on the field after the game)
Bresee Most Improved Offensive Player: Corey Lewis, Sr., OL
Bresee Most Improved Defensive Player: Houston Bates, Jr., LEO
Offensive Most Valuable Player: Nathan Scheelhaase, Sr., QB
Defensive Most Valuable Player: Austin Teitsma, Jr., DL
Special Teams Most Valuable Player: Zepheniah Grimes, So., LB
Unsung Award: Defense - V’Angelo Bentley, So., CB Offense - Tim Clary, So., TE
Faculty Award for Exemplary Leadership in Community, Classroom and on Field: Alex Hill, Jr., OL
Academic Excellence Award: Michael Martin, r-Fr., LS
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