2011 Illinois Fighting Illini Football

Big Ten football fans

Illinois vs South Dakota State Football Recap

Illinois 56, South Dakota State 3


It’s genuinely hard to derive a great deal of value from stomping on a rag doll, from mashing the most frosting-laden, sugar-loaded cupcake. Nevertheless, say this much about Illinois’s performance in week two of the college football season: If you’re going to play a downmarket opponent and hand a fat paycheck to a cupcake, you might as well enjoy the experience and administer a supremely severe beatdown.

That’s exactly what happened at Memorial Stadium on an afternoon that went as well as a man named Ron Zook could have reasonably hoped. The Fighting Illini, coached by Zook, stomped their FCS opponent on Saturday in Champaign, posting their biggest margin of victory since 1944 and outgaining the South Dakota State Jackrabbits by a whopping 519-96. It might have been a glorified scrimmage and little else, but at least the scrimmage proceeded exactly according to plan. Illinois certainly didn’t give away much of anything on defense, and what’s even better is that plenty of players were able to get gameday reps for a team that will need to have quality depth when it tackles the Big Ten season.

The Illinois offense mostly kept the ball on the ground and scored with ease, using a variety of weapons against South Dakota State.

Freshman Donovonn Young carried seven times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.   Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase carried   nine times for 93 yards and two touchdowns.   Troy Pollard had 101 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.   Starting running back Jason Ford carried 11 times for 48 yards and a touchdown. Scheelhaase attempted just eight passes, completing six for 102 yards.   Backup Reilly O’Toole was a perfect nine-for-nine passing, with 50 yards and a touchdown.


Young put the Illini on the board with a two-yard touchdown run with 3:58 left in the first quarter.   The rout was on after Ford’s four-yard scoring run and a 27-yard interception return by Trulon Young made it 21-0 at the end of the first. Young’s dodging, weaving 41-yard touchdown scamper put Illinois ahead 35-3 at halftime. Scheelhaase’s second rushing touchdown gave the Illini a 42-3 third-quarter lead and earned him a seat on the bench for the duration of the afternoon.

A.J. Jenkins led Illini receivers with 71 yards on five receptions.   Darius Millines caught three passes for 38 yards. On defense, the Illini limited Jackrabbits quarterback Thomas O’Brien to eight completions on 18 attempts for just 37 yards, and picked him off twice.

Illinois did not turn the ball over all afternoon… just like a glorified scrimmage in which a team is basically practicing against air. That’s what this game felt like. Illinois hopes this “practice” will pay off in the near future.

By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer



> More 2011 College Football Previews from CollegeSports-fans.com