Yesterday, the Illinois Fighting Illini lost a big one to the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes 60-35 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Here are Studs and Duds, which features players who had positive and negative impact on the game.
1. Steve Hull - For the second straight game, Steve Hull showed that he can be a quality #1 receiver for the Illini in place of Ryan Lankford. He had 105 receiving yards on eight receptions with one touchdown. He showed Illini Nation that last week against Indiana was no fluke and that he should receive a decent amount of targets in the team’s final two games.
2. V’Angelo Bentley - V’Angelo Bentley did not only do something that he hadn’t done since week one of the season (return a kick for a touchdown), but he could be seen as the spark that gave the Illini offense the energy to put up 35 points on the #3 team in the country. Up until his 67 yard punt return touchdown, Illinois was scoreless and OSU was running all over them up 28-0. He also finished the game with 175 all-purpose yards.
3. Nathan Scheelhaase - Yes, Nathan Scheelhaase finished Saturday’s contest with an abysmal 29.2 QBR, but the senior quarterback did everything he needed to in order to keep his offense in the game. Scheelhaase finished the game with 288 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also was able to run for 46 more yards and another score. For a QB that threw the ball 50 time in the game, I’d say Scheelhaase did a good job in the loss.
1. Jonathan Brown - Illinois gave up over 50 points for the second straight game, and the Illini defense has not looked too stellar since Big Ten play began in early October. On Saturday, Brown recorded only six total tackles and a single tackle for loss. Brown (and the defense as a whole) could have played better this weekend. This Illini defense needs a spark with just two games left in 2013 and my eyes will be glued to Brown for that spark.
2. Josh Ferguson - Yes, Ferguson’s performance on Saturday was better than his performances against PSU, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, but it still wasn’t as good as Ferguson has shown us he can be. Against OSU, Ferguson did run for 69 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. However, he only caught six passes for 15 yards. In order for Illinois to be more successful, Josh Ferguson needs to have a bigger impact on the passing game.
3. Spencer Harris - It was obvious that Spencer Harris was not at his best this weekend against the Buckeyes. After racking up 62 yards on six catches against Indiana, Harris only caught one pass against OSU for eleven yards. If Illinois wants to have a chance at maybe winning a Big Ten game against either Purdue or Northwestern, Spencer Harris will need to be much more productive than one catch for eleven yards.
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