Halftime: Illinois 17, WMU 0: Rapid Reaction

CHAMPAIGN - A quick look at the first half of Saturday's season opener.

Play of the half: Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase connected with junior wide receiver Ryan Lankford for a 64-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the game. The score was the first of the Tim Beckman Era, the second of Lankford's career.

Stat of the half: 5 - Western Michigan had five offensive drives with three plays or less. The Illini defense forced the Broncos to punt after only three plays on four occasions. Safety Earnest Thomas intercepted a pass on the second play of the Broncos last drive of the first quarter.

Did you see… Michael Buchanan all over the field? The senior defensive end intercepted the first pass of his career in the first quarter. Down 10-0, the Broncos were driving and were on the Illinois 25, but facing a fourth-and-two. Buchanan thwarted any chance for a conversation, intercepting quarterback Alex Carder's short pass attempt. Buchanan was active throughout the first half, constantly applying pressure to Carder. He also had a sack near the end of the second quarter.

Stat stuffer: Western Michigan rover Johnnie Simon tallied 13 tackles.

Injury report: Safety Supo Sanni did not dress for the game. Steve Hull did suit up, but did not see the field in the first half.

Keeping the streak: Illinois is 3-1 all-time against Western Michigan, and is undefeated in games played in Champaign.

Fun fact: Former basketball player Meyers Leonard was on the sideline during the opening half. Leonard was the 11th overall selection in 2012 NBA Draft.


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