The comeback fell just short as the Illinois Fighting Illini lost to the #19 Washington Huskies, 34-24, in the Chicago Homecoming Game at Soldier Field tonight.
In the first half of action, the Illini defense played very well by holding the Huskies to only 10 points while Nathan Scheelhaase and the offense struggled for the first time this season.
The offense only was able to muster up 3 points before the half and didn’t get anything going until the second. However, the same was true for the Huskies as well.
The Illini were able to put up 21 points in the second half, but it did not help that the defense let Washington put up 24 points of their own.
The Huskies did it by running the football. Of their 615 total yards, Washington ran for 273 yards. Originally, the two running backs were Bishop Sankey and Dwayne Washington, but Washington was benched and replaced after two first half fumbles.
Sankey led the Husky rushing attack with 208 yards in the game and one rushing touchdown. Jesse Callier came in to replace Washington after halftime and ran for 66 yards and scored a touchdown of his own.
Washington’s quarterback Keith Price also had a nice game. He threw for 342 yards on 28 completions and two touchdowns. Between him, Sankey, and the tempo of their offense, Washington was able to pull out the victory.
Nathan Scheelhaase had an okay game, but it took him a while to get going. He threw for 156 yards on only 9 completions while throwing a touchdown. He also ran for 21 yards and a touchdown. Although, he threw a costly interception late in the game that officially handed the Huskies the game.
As for the Illinois rushing attack, Donovonn Young led the team with 58 yards on 13 carries, but didn’t really get going until the second half.
The Illini will take a week off before hosting the Miami (OH) RedHawks at Memorial Stadium on September 28th.
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