Illinois (1-10, 0-7) was hoping to gain their first Big Ten win of the season, as were the Hoosiers. Indiana (2-8, 1-5) struck quickly on the opening drive of the game, traveling 78 yards in just over five minutes. BenJarvus Green-Ellis plunged in from 1 yard out to put Indiana up 7-0.
The score stayed that way until late in the second quarter, when the Illini took just 56 seconds to go 62 yards just before the half. Quarterback Dustin Ward hit receiver Eric McGoey with a 6-yard fade pass to tie the game at 7-7 going into halftime.
#3 Eric McGoey makes tough catch (AP)
The Illini came out with a long 6:27 to start the half, but could not reach the endzone. John Gockman missed the field goal from 37 yards as the Illini let a golden opportunity slip away. The Illini would come back however, scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Ade Adeyemo for his first touchdown as an Illini. The Illini took their first lead of the Big Ten season, leading 14-7 at the end of three quarters.
Indiana could not get anything going after the opening drive of the game. The Illini defense contained the Hoosiers pretty well for two three quarters, but the fourth quarter was a nightmare for Illinois.
An apparent 52-yard punt return by Christian Morton was nullified by a holding penalty. Afterwards, the Illini stalled on offense, unable to get a first down when it counted.
"We had some opportunities to do some things, but we did not take advantage," Illinois head coach Ron Turner said after the game.
Indiana took full advantage of the Illini's inability to get big first downs. Running back Chris Taylor who finished with 62 yards rushing, ran roughshod over the Illini, leading Indiana to a field goal to make it 14-10.
Illinois stalled on offense yet again, going three and out. The Hoosiers marched downfield in a hurry, with the drive ending in an 8-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt LoVecchio to give the Hoosiers the 17-14 win.
"We came here to win the game and we did some good things," Turner commented after the game.
There were some bright spots for the Illini. Tailback Marcus Mason ran for 102 yards, his first 100-yard game of his career. Dustin Ward was efficient, going 15-21 for 163 yards, and Eric McGoey had 7 catcher for 47 yards. Regardless, it was still a disappointing loss for the Illini.
"Our guys kept on fighting, but I am not sure the confidence is there to get a stop," Turner added.
If the Illini are going to gain any confidence at all, they will have to wait two weeks before facing Northwestern in the final game of the season. Illinois played much better today, keeping themselves in the ball game to the very end, but they could not get the job done. The Illini will have to fight in order to avoid a winless Big Ten season, something that would come just two years after winning the Big Ten.