Illinois was busy piling up yards Saturday night, and Indiana continues to pile up losses.
Illini quarterback Juice Williams threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the Illini (4-3/2-2) to a 55-13 win over Indiana at Memorial Stadium. The loss was Indiana's fifth straight loss and dropped the Hoosiers to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten.
Indiana played without quarterback Kellen Lewis, who stayed behind in Bloomington due to a high ankle sprain. Ben Chappell struggled in his place, completing 12-of-29 throws for 172 yards. The Hoosiers also continued to flounder on third downs (3-of-16) and scored only one touchdown for the third straight week.
It all added up to a second straight ugly loss to a team that entered the game at only 3-3, and left IU Coach Bill Lynch at a bit of a loss about what to do.
"We have to play better," Lynch said. "There were some things out there in the second half that just wasn't very good football. We have to get that cleaned up."
Chappell didn't do anything to suggest that he'll supplant Lewis as the starter once he's healthy, but Lynch wasn't pinning the ugly result on the Bloomington sophomore, either.
"I thought he hung in there," Lynch said. "I didn't think the outcome is on Ben's performance."
While Indiana couldn't get much going against the Illini defense, Williams' led at Illini offensive attack that piled up 563 yards of total offense against an IU defense that has now given up at least 42 points in four of its last five games. Williams completed16-of-22 passes for 271 yards and three scores and rushed for another 30 and a TD.
In addition to Williams' big day, tailback Jason Ford ran for 172 yards on only 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 1, 5 and 41 yards. Wideout Arrellious Benn, meanwhile, added seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, and kick returner A.J. Jenkins concluded the evening's fireworks with a 96-yard kickoff return for a TD that capped the Illini scoring.
The Illini took control from the opening minutes. Chappell and the IU offense went three-and-out on its opening possession, capped by the first of four Illinois sacks on the evening. On Illinois' opening play from scrimmage Williams hooked up with Will Judson for a 60-yard completion down to the IU one-yard line, and Williams completed a one-yard touchdown strike to Michael Hoomanawanui with 12:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
Williams would add a 20-yard strike to Jeff Cumberland later in the quarter to extend the margin to 14-0.
While Illinois was moving the ball at will in the opening half, the Hoosiers missed out on a couple of opportunities to keep the game close. A pair of first quarter IU drives stalled inside the Illinois 20, but Austin Starr missed on field goal attempts of 38 and 45 yards.
IU's only first-half score came on a 25-yard run by Bryan Payton that cut the lead to 14-7 with 1:16 left in the first quarter. But Illinois extended the lead to 28-7 by halftime thanks to a five-yard TD run by Ford and a 37-yard strike from Williams to Benn.
The rout was on in the second half. Illinois scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the half, and Illinois went on to hand IU its worst loss since Penn State beat Indiana 52-7 on Nov. 15, 2003.
Illinois Embarrasses IU, 55-13
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