Box Score Breakdown: Illinois @ Minnesota

Things are so easy when you break the down by the numbers, and that is what Jeff Murdock does every weekend after the Illinois football games. He sits down in front of a stat sheet and uses it to help in his analyzation of the Illini. This week he noticed, as one would expect from a 45-0 defeat, there was not one pretty stat line from an Illini player on Saturday afternoon.

Every one that has watched the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Illinois Fighting Illini this season knew exactly what the Gophers would do to control the game: they would run, and continue to run the ball on Illinois until they proved they could stop it. Well, Illinois did not prove they could stop the run, in fact Illinois proved it could not stop the run at all. The Gophers rushed for 319 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

Earlier this week, Ron Turner said that one of the goals of his offense would be to keep the ball away from the Gophers with a balanced attack that ate up the time of possession. The Illini went through two quarterbacks, and the ground game was surprisingly very weak. The Illini only totaled 72 yards on the ground, averaging 2.2 yards per carry. None of Illinois' tailbacks were able to tally yards as quarterback Brad Bower had more yards on scrambles than Pierre Thomas, EB Halsey, and Marcus Mason could muster on designed running plays.

  Minnesota Illinois
First Downs 23 17
Rushes - Yards 49-319 22-72
Passing Yards 268 159
Passes Comp-Att-Int 11-22-0 19-29-1
Total Offense (Plays-Yards) 71-587 62-231
Fumble Returns - Yards 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns - Yards 1-6 1-10
Kickoff Returns - Yards 0-0 7-100
Interception Returns - Yards 1-0 0-0
Punts (Num - Yards) 3-129 8-372
Fumbles - Lost 2-0 2-1
Time of Possession 28:27 31:33
Third Down Conversions 7-14 6-16
Fourth Down Conversions 1-1 0-0
Red Zone Scores - Chances 4-5 0-1
Sacks By: Num - Yards 4-34 0-0

Probably the most shocking number in the general portion of the box score would be that Illinois actually won the time of possession battle. The third quarter is where Illinois won the battle as they held the ball for 11:14 to Minnesota's 3:46. The only problem was it was in the third quarter where Minnesota scored three touchdowns. The first touchdown capped off a nine play drive of 80 yards and took 1:09 off the clock. The other two drives were 3 plays for 88 yards and 2 plays for 83 yards.

RUSHING STATISTICS The Illini were not able to muster anything on the ground, as the running statistics show. None of Illinois touted running backs were able to gain yards, despite every one of them being given the chance by Ron Turner. Pierre Thomas, Marcus Mason, and EB Halsey only combined to gain 47 yards. Quarterback Brad Bower rushed for 39 yards. That just shows how ineffective the Illini running game was on Saturday afternoon against the Gophers.

  Attempts Total TDs Long Average
Brad Bower 9 39 0 20 4.3
EB Halsey 8 23 0 6 2.9
Marcus Mason 7 20 0 15 2.9
Jason Davis 2 5 0 4 2.5
Pierre Thomas 5 4 0 4 0.8
Chris Pazan 2 -19 0 0 -9.5
Totals 33 72 0 20 2.2

Pierre Thomas: This may have been Pierre Thomas' worst game wearing the Orange and Blue of Illinois. He was not able to muster anything on the ground outside of one carry that went for four yards.

EB Halsey: Halsey was returning from a knee injury that kept him out of last week's game, and he was not at one hundred percent. He was rather ineffective as well, and surprisingly was no where to be seen in the Illini passing game as he had no receptions out of the backfield.

Ron Turner did not make it known who would be his starting quarterback on Saturday until game time. Some people like Loren Tate had figured it out because they saw Friday afternoon's walkthrough, but the Gophers and most fans did not know until the Illini took the field on Saturday. Brad Bower started for Illinois, and he was replaced by Chris Pazan. Pazan was then replaced by Bower. Bower was then replaced by Pazan. Yes, the quarterbacks were shuffled in and out of the game on Saturday, and only Tim Brasic did not see time behind center for Illinois of the three quarterbacks Turner named that had a chance at replacing Jon Beutjer as Illinois' starting quarterback.

Comp-Att-Int Yards Touchdowns
Brad Bower 14-20-0 131 0
Chris Pazan 5-9-1 28 0
Totals 19-29-1 159 0

There really is not much to say about either quarterback. When you look at their numbers, they are pedestrian, but the constant rotation of who Illinois' quarterback will be has to be tough on not only the individual quarterbacks, but on the receivers.

Minnesota made it a point on Saturday afternoon to try to take away the deep throw from Illinois. They were content to let Illinois catch the ball underneath and tackle them for short gains, as long as they did not let the Illinois offense make that one deep pass.

Receptions Yards TDs Long
Kendrick Jones 6 34 0 12
Mark Kornfeld 2 45 0 28
Jason Davis 2 19 0 21
Franklin Payne 2 16 0 9
Spencer Jensen 1 12 0 12
Brock Bolen 1 9 0 9
Melvin Bryant 1 9 0 9
Anthony McClellan 1 7 0 7
DaJuan Warren 1 6 0 6
Perre Thomas 1 2 0 2
Marcus Mason 1 0 0 0
Total 19 159 0 28

Kendrick Jones: Jones once again showed that he will be the Illini go to receiver no matter who the Illinois quarterback is. He had as many receptions as all other Illinois wide receivers combined (six). The one play of the game that I thought Kendrick could have done better was when Chris Pazan threw that interception, Kendrick should have acted more like a defensive back and ensured that ball was not caught by the Minnesota player.

Minnesota rushed for 319 yards and won the game 45-0. I don't think any defensive statistics can paint a good picture, other than one for the Golden Gophers.

Solo Assists Total
Bryan Schaefering 6 1 7
Matt Sinclair 4 2 6
Justin Harrison 3 3 6
Kevin Mitchell 4 1 5
Joe Mele 3 1 4
Morris Virgil 2 2 4
Kelvin Hayden 2 2 4
Mike Gawelek 2 2 4
Ryan Matha 3 0 3
Russ Weil 3 0 3
Mike O'Brien 2 1 3
Alan Ball 1 2 3
Anthony Thornhill 1 2 3
J. Leman 1 2 3
Josh Tischer 1 1 2
Charles Bailey, Jr. 1 1 2
Xavier Fulton 1 0 1
Arthur Boyd III 1 0 1
Chris Norwell 0 1 1

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