Illinois takes down No. 22 Arizona State
Champaign, IL – A.J. Jenkins' 16-yard touchdown reception 14, at Memorial Stadium.
Jenkins led all receivers with 103 yards on six catches for the Illini (3-0), who continue their season-opening five-game homestand against Western Michigan next Saturday.
Nathan Scheelhaase finished 11-of-15 for 135 yards, the TD strike to Jenkins and one interception, adding 67 yards on 18 carries. Jason Ford notched a rushing score for Illinois.
Brock Osweiler threw for 256 yards and one touchdown but was picked off twice and sacked six times for the Sun Devils (2-1), who topped UC Davis and Missouri to begin the year.
Gerell Robinson posted eight catches for 88 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
Osweiler hung tough, ending a drive which bridged the third and fourth quarters by rumbling 14 yards to put Arizona State ahead 14-10 on the first play of the final period.
But Illinois was not to be denied. After its ensuing drive stalled in its own end, the defense came up with a sack and fumble, recovered by Ian Thomas at the ASU 41.
Four plays later, on a 2nd-and-10 from the Sun Devils' 16-yard line, Scheelhaase found Jenkins for the go-ahead score.
A pass interference call kept ASU's next drive alive, but it stalled shy of midfield. Illinois then failed to convert a 3rd-and-short, but the defense again came up big, forcing an Osweiler incompletion on 4th-and-10 from the visitors' 40.
Illinois then ran out most of the clock without picking up a first down.
Ford's one-yard run capped the second drive of the contest and put Illinois up 7-0, but Arizona State countered with an 80-yard drive and tied the game on a 21-yard connection from Osweiler to Robinson.
Derek Dimke connected from 20 yards out and the Illini led 10-7 after 15 minutes of play.
Scheelhaase was intercepted and fumbled once each in the second quarter, but Arizona State failed to capitalize.
ASU's Alex Garoutte missed a 32-yard attempt near the end of the half and it remained a three-point margin at the break.
Arizona State had won the only two prior meetings, including a 21-16 decision in Tempe in 1988...The Sun Devils racked up a 362-240 advantage in total yards...Cameron Marshall led ASU with 69 yards on 13 carries, while Ford finished with 58 yards on 21 totes for Illinois.