Russell and Hawkeyes Outmuscle the Illini

<p>Another Big Ten game meant another blowout loss for Head Coach Ron Turner and his Fighting Illini. The Iowa Hawkeyes beat Illinois 41-10 in Iowa City, IA on Saturday.

Iowa (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) running back Fred Russell carried the ball 23 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns. During the game, Russell passed the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the second straight season in a row.

Hawkeyes QB Nathan Chandler completed 14 of 23 pass attempts for 243 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. Chandler's yardage total was his highest of the season.

The injury ravaged Illini (1-9, 0-6) put up a good fight, but was seriously outmanned. This was evident on the first series of the game when Iowa put together an 18-play drive that covered 73 yards and took 9:06 off the clock.

Illini Senior QB Dustin Ward, making his first start of the year, could not provide the spark that Turner had hoped to see. Ward was 12 of 23 passing for 108 yards.

Redshirt Freshman Chris Pazan took the reins of the Illinois offense in the second half and was able to get the Illini on the scoreboard. With 12:22 left in the game, Pazan completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Mark Kornfeld to dash Iowa's hopes of a shutout. Pazan went 4 of 9 passing for 98 yards and one touchdown.

Later in the fourth, kicker John Gockman connected on a 24-yard field goal. In a sign of how bad the Illini's luck has been all season, Gockman missed two field goals during the game that each clanged off the left upright.

Due to injuries, the Illini had to look to some new faces on the offensive side of the ball. Converted defender Eric McGoey made the best of his opportunity and caught four passes for 119 yards. Marcus Mason filled in at running back because of injuries to E.B. Halsey, Pierre Thomas and Morris Virgil. Mason banged out 42 yards on 14 carries.

"Defensively, I thought we were doing a better job and offensively, obviously results were hard to come by," Turner said. "When we did have an opportunity to make a play, a couple of times we were very close and didn't make them."

Next Saturday, the Illini get a break from playing the Big Ten's representatives in the Top 25 polls. Illinois travels to Bloomington, Indiana to take on a Hoosier team that is very much in the same position. The Hoosiers only victory this year has also came against a Division 1-AA, in-state foe. That game might be considered a must-win for Coach Turner and his team. If the Illini can hang tough for a half in Iowa City, they should be able to stand up to the Hoosiers.

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