Defense Shows Improvement in Scrimmage

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois football team wrapped up its 11th practice of the spring season with another physical scrimmage that lasted over an hour and a half on the field of Memorial Stadium. It was the last Saturday workout leading up to next week's Orange and Blue Spring Game set for 1 p.m.

The team began with a special teams and individual work which led into eight full drives of work, followed by third-down, redzone and two-minute situations.

The defense found success in seven of the eight drives, holding the offense to one field goal on the day. The first-team offense, going head-to-head with the first-team defense, were led by Tim Brasic for four drives, while sophomore Billy Garza and redshirt-freshman Paul Blalock each took two series with the second-team. The defense either forced the offense to punt or held them to downs in seven of the drives and defensive back Tyler Rouse got a key punt block that was returned 50 yards by DaJaun Warren for a touchdown in the third drive. The defense held the offense to 145 yards passing and 159 yards rushing.

During situational work, the offense and defense split the success in third-down work with the first-team offense converting 3-of-6 opportunities against the first-team defense. Despite the strong defensive play in the full drives, the first-team offense saw great success in the redzone, hitting a 20-yard field goal, and converting two rushing touchdown by Tim Brasic and Pierre Thomas.

On the day, Mendenhall once again led the team in rushing with 68 yards on eight carries, averaging over eight yards per rush. Brasic had over 65 percent of his passes completed for 119 yards and JR Kraemer, Jacob Willis and Greg McClendon each pulled in three catches. Defensively, linebacker J. Leman had 10 tackles, but newcomer to the defense end position Will Davis had three tackles for loss, one sack and an additional quarterback hurry. Linebacker Anthony Thornhill also stepped up the intensity with eight tackles, two for loss and a sack.

The team resumes spring practices on Tuesday, April 18 for the final week of workouts.

Source U of I press relase.


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