With really good field position to start the fourth quarter, Illinois football was able to take back the lead over Youngstown State!
Wes Lunt was able to put the Illini up 14-9 after hitting true freshman Mike Dudek for an 8-yard touchdown. The TD grab was Dudek’s first career reception of his young college career.
However, Youngstown State would come roaring back.
On their first drive of the quarter, the Penguins got into the redzone after Dante Nania hit Andrew Williams for a 61-yard pass.
Penguin running back Martin Ruiz would then punch the ball into the endzone to give Youngstown State the lead yet again in this game.
The Penguins would convert a two-point conversion on a Nania run to give them a 17-14 lead.
However, the Illini offense would come alive on their following drive.
On the second play of the drive, Wes Lunt would throw the ball to a leaping Mike Dudek for a 49-yard catch.
That play would get the Illini going offensively as the drive was capped off with another Wes Lunt TD.
This time, Lunt hit running back Josh Ferguson for a 15-yard TD pass to give Illinois the lead once again, 21-17.
The defense for Illinois would get back to their solid performance and force Youngstown State to punt after a 3-and-out.
Wes Lunt and the Illini offense would score yet again on their third drive of the fourth quarter.
On the ninth play of the drive, Lunt hit senior wide receiver Martize Barr for a 29-yard touchdown pass to seal the win for Illinois, 28-17.
It might have been a more stressful of a game then Illini fans would have liked in the season opener, but the bottom line is the Fighting Illini got the win.
The defense looked a lot better than it did in 2013, and that unit has a solid base to make even more improvements as the year progresses.
However, the offense will be a point of question heading into Illinois’ second match-up against Western Kentucky.
In his Illini debut, Wes Lunt went 24-of-38 for 284 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He spread the ball around quite a bit, but true freshman Mike Dudek lead the team in receiving with 61 yards and one TD on three catches.
Two of the biggest questions regarding the offense following this game are: 1) Will the Illini offense be able to start much faster next week against WKU? and 2) Can Bill Cubit get the rushing game going more in Illinois’ next game?
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