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Touchdown Times A publication of THE DAILY ILLINI Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Offense

Christian Hackenberg

Penn State C-A-INT

144-249-8

Yards 1,784

Yards

Rushing

Carries

Bill Belton Zach Zwinak Akeel Lynch

92 95 46

467 401 305

Receiving

Catches

Yards

Allen Robinson Brandon Felder Jesse James

Defense

Glenn Carson DaQuan Jones Jordan Lucas Malcolm Willis Mike Hull

Offense

Defense

Christian Hackenberg 14 QB Bill Belton 1 RB Pat Zerbe 35 FB Jesse James 18 TE Allen Robinson 8 WR Brandon Felder 85 WR Donovan Smith 76 LT Miles Dieffenbach 65 LG Ty Howie 60 C John Urschel 64 RG Garry Gilliam 77 RT

Passing

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2

55 26 15

Tackles 55 40 39 37 34

878 274 173

Sacks 1 2 1 0 .5

C.J. Olaniyan 86 DE DaQuan Jones 91 DT Kyle Baubiltz 84 DT Delon Barnes 18 DE Mike Hull 43 LB Glenn Carson 40 LB Nyeem Wartman 5 LB Trevor Williams 10 CB Malcolm Willis 1 S Adrian Amos 4 S Jordan Lucas 9 CB

TD 12

Avg 5.1 4.2 6.6

TD

Long 54

TD 3 8 1

Long

6 3 1

65 29 27

TFL

INT

4 8.5 4.5 1 2.5

0 0 1 1 0

Passing

Sat., Nov. 2 @Penn State 11 a.m. | ESPN

Yards 1,649

TD

Long

Rushing

Carries

Yards

Avg 5.5 4.3

TD

361 281

Receiving

Catches

Yards

TD

Long

Defense

Tackles

Sacks

TFL

INT

Josh Ferguson Donovonn Young

Josh Ferguson Martize Barr Spencer Harris

Jonathan Brown Mason Monheim Earnest Thomas III Eaton Spence Austin Teitsma

Sat., Sept. 14 vs. Washington (Soldier Field) L 34-24

Sat., Sept. 28 vs. Miami (Ohio) W 50-14

Sat., Nov. 9 @Indiana 2:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network

Sat., Nov. 16 vs. No. 4 Ohio State TBD

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Illinois

C-A-INT

GET

Sat., Oct. 26 vs. No. 24 Michigan State L, 42-3

Sat., Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati W 45-17

Tim Kynard 59 DE Jake Howe 95 NT Austin Teitsma 44 NT Teko Powell 93 DT Houston Bates 55 LEO Jonathan Brown 45 WLB Mason Monheim 43 MLB V’Angelo Bentley 2 CB Earnest Thomas 9 SS Zane Petty 21 FS Eaton Spence 27 CB

128-196-5

Nathan Scheelhaase

Schedule Sat., Aug. 31 vs. Southern Illinois W 42-34

Defense

Nathan Scheelhaase 2 QB Josh Ferguson 6 RB Steve Hull 9 WR Miles Osei 8 WR Spencer Harris 80 WR Jon Davis 3 TE Simon Cvijanovic 68 LT Michael Heitz 74 LG Alex Hill 52 C Ted Karras 69 RG Corey Lewis 70 RT

66 66

25 22 18

361 214 158

76 61 57 38 34

2.5 1 0 0 0.5

12

3 1 1

8 4.5 2 0 3

72

2 3

53 30 29

0 0 0 0 0

Games in bold are at home

Sat., Oct. 5 @ Nebraska L 39-19

Sat., Nov. 23 @ Purdue TBD

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readbuzz.com

Sat., Oct. 19 vs. No. 22 Wisconsin L, 56-32

Sat., Nov. 30 vs. Northwestern TBD

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

3

CHONG JIANG THE DAILY ILLINI

Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase runs the ball during the game against Penn State held at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 29, 2012. Scheelhaase is 1-2 against Penn State in his career.

Freshman QB leads Penn State against young Illini BY SEAN HAMMOND SENIOR WRITER

If anyone knows a thing or two about coaching young players, it’s Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks. His defense is as young as they come, especially in the secondary. But when his defense goes up against true freshman Christian Hackenberg at Penn State this weekend, Banks isn’t being fooled by the quarterback’s youth. “To be a young pup, I think he’s really good,” Banks said. “He’s going to be special.” Hackenberg has started all of Penn State’s games and has passed for 1,784 yards and 12 touchdowns, while keeping Penn State (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) afloat in the Big Ten, despite being ineligible for postseason play.

Illinois (3-4, 0-3) head coach Tim Beckman praised Hackenberg’s intelligence at the quarterback position. Beckman said it’s easy to see why he was given the opportunity to start as a freshman. Throwing Hackenberg off his game is one focus, but stopping his top receiving threat will be key. Junior wide receiver Allen Robinson is one of the most talented targets in the Big Ten. His 878 receiving yards leads the conference and his six touchdowns put him right up near as well. “He’s just big and strong, very athletic,” Banks said. “He can go up and get the ball. He’s a playmaker. Definitely one of the most talented receivers we’ve seen.” Like Illinois, Penn State has had a rocky first half of the season. The Nittany Lions have looked good at times (a four-overtime

victory over Michigan on Oct. 12) and bad at others (last week’s 63-14 loss to Ohio State). Bill O’Brien’s squad is not going to surprise anybody like it did last year. “Penn State is Penn State,” Beckman said. “They’re very physical. They do what they do well, which they always have. And I think Bill O’Brien’s done a great job with this program.” Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has never coached a game at Beaver Stadium, which seats 107,282 people; although he did see it once on a recruiting trip while coaching at Stanford. His quarterback, Nathan Scheelhaase, remembers the place well. The last time Illinois played at Penn State, the Illini lost when a last-second Derek Dimke field goal that would have tied the game clanked off the upright. That was in 2011, the loss was

the third in a six-game losing streak for Illinois. Any Illini upperclassman understands how losses can snowball — like they did in 2011 and like they did last season. It’s starting to feel like the Illini might be in the midst of a long skid right now. Penn State provides a chance to put an end to the threegame losing streak Illinois is facing now. “I know you guys know this, that’s why I’m always nice to y’all, but I don’t read the papers,” Banks told the media Monday. “You just go about your business. You work as hard as you can. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you’ve worked to the best of your ability. “That’s what you tell your kids.”

Sean can be reached at sphammo2@ dailyillini.com and @sean_hammond.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

4

THE DAILY ILLINI | www.DailyIllini.com

NEXT MAN UP MEN Offense adjusts after injury ends Lankford’s season BY STEPHEN BOURBON STAFF WRITER

IN

a 42-3 defeat to Michigan State on Saturday, the Illinois football team suffered an even bigger loss than what was on the scoreboard. The Illini watched wide receiver Ryan Lankford, one of only 12 scholarship seniors on the team, take a reverse on the third play of the second quarter against the Spartans. Looking to lateral back the other way to Martize Barr, Lankford was hit by Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun and fumbled. In the frantic scramble for the ball, few noticed Lankford grabbing at his shoulder after the play. “I got hit, it loosened up, it came dislocated and was kind of drug into the ground,” Lankford said. “I tried to get up with both my hands and could only push up with one and I knew right then, ‘Oh man, it’s worse than it was before.’ Went off the field, took my shoulder pads off, which took me a while. I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Aw man, going to need some surgery on this guy.’” The diagnosis: a dislocated shoulder — requiring surgery that spells the end to his Illini career. “It’s tough. When you take a man’s senior year from him, with five games left to play, it’s tough on him,” head coach Tim Beckman said. The shock of ending a collegiate career in one play — a play in which he wasn’t even supposed to have the ball for more than a moment — overwhelmed Lankford in the locker room. “It was really tough for me. I came in, not going to lie, I cried. It was not looking good,” he said. “I’ve never really had any injuries. Last year’s high ankle sprain was the worst injury I’ve had in my career until now.” The news especially hit hard in the midst of a threegame losing streak for the Illini, with all three losses coming by more than 20 points. The team is currently on an 18-game conference losing streak, a program record. After a 3-1 start, the hopes for a bowl game are beginning to fade with perennial powers Penn State and Ohio State still on the schedule. “I’m telling them, I’m all right, I’m OK,” Lankford said. “I’m not dead, I’m still here walking, surgery is going to go fi ne. Don’t worry about me. Yeah, I would love to be out there, but don’t focus on me. We’ve still got a season

ahead of us and an opportunity to get into a bowl game, a great bowl game, so don’t worry about me.” “I thought he’d be out a week, you didn’t know it’d be season-ending surgery,” wide receivers coach Mike Bellamy added. “This whole journey is shortlived at some point. But I want to be the guy that he calls in 20 years saying ‘Coach, I just opened my own business. Come see my kids graduate from high school.’ That’s the kind of relationship I want to have, and I think we’re on that path. Fortunately, he’s still going to be around.” Even though Lankford won’t be on the field, he will still be a part of the Illini football team, serving alongside Bellamy as a coach to assist the younger players and help the team. Both Lankford and Bellamy referenced

“I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND SAID, ‘AW MAN, GOING TO NEED SOME SURGERY ON THIS GUY.” RYAN LANKFORD

WIDE RECEIVER WHO SUFFERED A CAREER-ENDING INJURY

a similar situation in 2011, when top Illini receiver A.J. Jenkins sat out all of spring practice with an injury but was there to tutor a then-inexperienced Lankford to take the leap into the starting lineup. Now it’s Lankford’s turn to be the teacher, working with the younger crop on the practice field and in the film room. “That’s the first thing he said,” Bellamy said. “When A.J. was out, he helped him. He wants to give back to that, he said, ‘I’m going to be there for you, coach, to help the young guys out.’ That’s the commitment that these leaders have, they want to see everybody succeed.” The Illini will miss both Lankford’s production and presence on the field. Lankford ranked third on the team in catches with 15, second with 308 yards as well as second with an average of 20.5 yards per catch. But just having the former Illinois track athlete on the field instantly commands the attention of the opposing team’s

safety to defend against the deep threat. “Obviously losing Ryan is a tough blow but we have guys that can step up and do not exactly what Ryan could because he’s one of the fastest guys on the team, but it’s just next guy up,” tight end Jon Davis said. “First guy off my head is Justin Hardee because he hasn’t had the opportunities with our deep receiving corps.” One positive for the Illini is that wide receiver is one of the deepest positions on the roster. Even without Lankford, three seniors remain on the depth chart — including a healthy Steve Hull who is recovered from a head injury sustained against Wisconsin. Behind seniors Hull, Miles Osei and Spencer Harris, the Illini have Barr to go with seldom-used Justin Hardee and Dionte Taylor. Even Devin Church made the switch this week from running back to wide receiver. Those four players figure to be the ones to see additional action in Lankford’s absence. “Somebody else is going to have to do it,” offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said. “Is it Hardee because he can run a little bit? Is it Church? We got to fi nd those out. I always say that when a guy is a second-teamer, and he plays with the fi rst team, we fi nd out how good he really is. We’ll fi nd out with those guys this week, are they ready for a primetime game?” Cubit’s offense spreads the ball around to many different targets, so losing a No. 1 receiver like Lankford could be a little easier to bear. The Illini have nine players who have caught at least seven passes, and it’s not just the wide receivers who get involved in the passing attack. The team’s leader in yards is a running back in Josh Ferguson, and 10 of the Illini’s 14 passing touchdowns have gone to tight ends and running backs. Coming off the offense’s worst appearance of the season, just three points and 128 yards against Michigan State, Illinois will need to bounce back to get off the losing skid. Fortunately, Cubit is known for his multiplicity in game-planning, something that the offense relishes each week. “Every Monday or Tuesday, it’s a new Christmas gift that the offense gets to open up and play with,” Bellamy said. “So we’ll see what we break out on Saturday.”

Stephen can be reached at sbourbo2@dailyillini.com and @steve_bourbon.


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5

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NTALITY

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

Illinois' Ryan Lankford runs the ball during the game against No. 25 Wisconsin at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 19. The Illini lost 56-32.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

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6

Matchups to watch Illini face talented offense, vulnerable defense BY ERIK PRADO ON-AIR REPORTER

Illinois front four vs. Penn State running backs Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

The last time the Illini defense did not allow more than 100 yards rushing was in Week 1. Since then, the defense has surrendered an average of 244.8 rushing yards per game. Penn State will be looking to use its running back tandem to establish the ground game against the No. 103 defense in the country and a defensive line that stepped up its pressure last week but was eventually worn down by the Michigan State ground game.

Illinois’ Teko Powell (93) tackles Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford (33) at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Illini lost 42-3.

LUCIA SOFO THE DAILY COLLEGIAN

Penn State running back Bill Belton could have a big day against the Illini, who have one of the worst rush defenses in the nation.

Illinois secondary vs. Allen Robinson Robinson has 55 receptions for 878 yards and six touchdowns on the year. The junior has had only two games in which he did not pass the century mark in receiving yards. Even if V’Angelo Bentley plays, expect Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg to look Robinson’s way early and often against an embattled secondary. The secondary will have an even tougher time if Penn State is effectively running the ball, thus opening up the play-action game for Hackenberg. DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

LUCIA SOFO THE DAILY COLLEGIAN

Illinois’ V’Angelo Bentley will return from an injury this weekend, but he and the rest of the secondary will have their hands full with Allen Robinson.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson is one of the top receivers in the country with 55 catches for 878 yards and six touchdowns this season.

struggling Illinois offense vs. Penn State defense

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase has struggled in Big Ten play but could rebound against a vulnerable defense.

The Illini are coming off their worst outing of the year in which they only scored only three points and had fewer than 300 yards of total offense. The good news is Penn State is vulnerable. The Nittany Lions just allowed 63 points, the most since 1900. Penn State is vulnerable to high-tempo spread attacks. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has dabbled with the fast pace at times. The bad news is the Illini will be facing an angry Nittany Lions defense that will be looking to make up for last week. Nathan Scheelhaase will also need to find a new target after Ryan Lankford’s season-ending injury.

LEAH EDER THE DAILY COLLEGIAN

C.J. Olaniyan (86) attempts to sack Eastern Michigan’s Tyler Benz (12) during the Saturday afternoon game at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won the game 45-7.


THE DAILY ILLINI | www.DailyIllini.com

Thursday, October 31, 2013

7

OURPICKS Eliot Sill Sports editor

Sean Hammond Stephen Bourbon Senior writer Staff writer

Torrence Sorrell Assistant sports editor

Erik Prado On-air reporter

Michael Wonsover Videographer

(29-11)

(31-9)

(24-15)

(30-10)

(31-9)

(29-11)

28-24

28-14

49-10

23-14

28-24

35-17

38-35

49-42

55-49

35-27

35-28

42-35

21-10

31-21

27-21

28-24

17-10

27-24

44-24

38-20

34-24

42-27

35-17

45-14

DAILY ILLINI .COM

Illinois at Penn State

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Michigan at Michigan State

Miami vs. Florida State

USC at Oregon State 37-35

21-17

28-17

31-17

28-13

38-17

Saturday, Nov. 2

Standings

Illinois @ Penn State 11 a.m. | ESPN

LEGENDS

CONF

OVR

LEADERS

CONF

OVR

MICHIGAN STATE

4-0

7-1

OHIO STATE

4-0

8-0

11 a.m. | ABC

MICHIGAN

2-1

6-1

WISCONSIN

3-1

5-2

No. 4 Ohio State @ Purdue

NEBRASKA

2-1

5-2

PENN STATE

1-2

4-3

IOWA

2-2

5-3

INDIANA

1-2

3-4

MINNESOTA

2-2

6-2

ILLINOIS

0-3

3-4

NORTHWESTERN

0-4

4-4

PURDUE

0-3

1-6

No. 24 Wisconsin @ Iowa

11 a.m. | Big Ten Network

Minnesota @ Indiana 2:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network

Northwestern @ Nebraska 2:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network

No. 21 Michigan @ No. 22 Michigan 2:30 p.m. | ABC

CHECK ALL WEEKEND LONG FOR FULL GAME COVERAGE


Thursday, October 31, 2013

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8

If Illinois doesn’t roll over, it may actually beat Penn St. ELIOT SILL Sports editor

S

ports can be ruthless at times; Ryan Lankford knows the truth. The senior wideout’s college career ended on one of the worst plays in his time at Illinois. He couldn’t use his shoulder to help himself off the field, yet he still stuck around to receive an earful from offensive coordinator Bill Cubit — he shouldn’t have tried to lateral — before receiving the worst diagnosis in his football history. Nathan Scheelhaase knows the truth, too. His senior season has devolved into something uncomfortably resemblant of his junior season. The offense can’t move the ball. The defense can’t stop the ball. Injuries affecting the team. And now his dad will never watch him play in Memorial Stadium again. Sometime in September, playing football for Illinois looked like a pretty fun thing to do. The notion in itself was refreshing to the fans, the media and undoubtedly to the players themselves. That’s changed, and the Illini have a bumpy road ahead. Coming in at 11th on our weekly power rankings means Illinois will win one game the rest of the season unless something changes.

The road portion of the season comes now. Traveling to Penn State, to Indiana, to Purdue. It’s not as easy as waking up in your own bed on gameday. The weather’s colder. The only way to keep yourself warm is to play hard, which for the offense is tough to do since the defense spends most of the time on the field anyway. Then you go out there and its three frigid hits from bigger, faster defenders, and you’re back on the aluminum bench. School is amping up. You have to stay academically eligible. You need more time to focus on school, which won’t really mesh well with needing more time to improve as a football team and extra work to transition to a post-Lankford offense. This is the type of low point college football makes you fear — to be a loser in a heartless game with less and less to play for and more and more to do besides. This is the point when you dig deeper than you realized you could or you quit.

Illinois will take the field in Happy Valley and be given nothing, save for maybe a pair of hand warmers. Once the kickoff sails, into what will undoubtedly be a gray, drab morning air, it’s hard hits from white helmets and the wall of cheers of approval at your every failure. Tim Beckman’s football family is in for a cold November. But the season isn’t over. It doesn’t end just because things look bleak. There will still be a game to be won. Illinois will still have a shot to win it. Against Michigan State, a couple fateful moments could have happened the other way and Illinois would have been winning at halftime. What happens in the second half if Illinois isn’t demoralized and down by three scores after the Spartans’ opening drive? Maybe things go differently. And maybe they will this week. Illinois’ gotta be making the trip for a reason, right?

But the season isn’t over. It doesn’t end just because things look bleak. There will still be a game to be won. Illinois will still have a shot to win it.

A win against Penn State would turn everything around. It would provide three things Illinois fans have totally forgotten about since the Orange and Blue smothered Miami (Ohio) 50-14 for their third win: an end to the Big Ten losing streak, a better chance at bowl eligibility and a reason to keep fighting despite the cold weather and busying schedules. Illinois has to remember that it’s lost to three really talented opponents. Penn State isn’t on their level. A win brings the team back to .500, with an easier game against Indiana looming. A win, moreover, would put an end to what has been a really tough week for the Illinois football program. Penn State football knows a thing or two about fighting through adversity to notch a reinvigorating victory. Illinois is the underdog. The decision is up to the team whether it lays down and dies or bears down and fights. It’s not too late to turn the season around. But it’s getting close. Illinois is getting near the point of “why bother?” that defi ned the second half of its season last year. The Illini need to give themselves a reason to fight through the rest of the season, and a win over Penn State would do just that.

Eliot is a senior in Media. He can be reached at sill2@dailyillini.com. Follow him on Twitter @EliotTweet.

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Touchdown Times: October 31, 2013  

Thursday October 31, 2013

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