RedHawk Down: Rapid Reaction

The what, who and why following Illinois' win Saturday against Miami (OH).

Miami (OH) RedHawks at Illinois Fighting Illini
Sep 28, 20131ST2ND3RD4THSCORE
Miami (OH) RedHawks (0-4)007714
Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1)7297750
Miami (OH) RedHawks
Illinois Fighting Illini

It was over: Five minutes into the second quarter. The Illini carried a 7-0 lead into the second period and put the game out of reach with two quick scores. A 29-point explosion in the second quarter effectively ended the contest.

Player of the game: Nathan Scheelhaase. Once again, the senior quarterback thrived in the wide-open Bill Cubit offense. Scheelhaase finished with a career-high five touchdown passes, all in the first half, and 278 yards after completing 19 of his 24 passes. A first quarter interception was essentially the only blemish of his day.

Stat of the game: Third down efficiency. Illinois converted six of it's first seven third down tries while the RedHawks went 1 for 7. The Illini raced to a 36-0 lead in the process.

The takeaway: The Illini dominated an opponent they were supposed to dominate. Miami isn't good, not at all. But credit the Illinois offense for coming out and ending any chance for drama or a mediocre win early. The defense gave up yards and first downs in the first half and some points in the second. The unit is and will be a work progress. But with Scheelhaase and Cubit wheeling and dealing, it appears this Illinois team will have a shot to gain it's first Big Ten victory since 2011. It's going to happen. It's just a matter of when.

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