CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS – Thanks to a staunch defensive effort, Rutgers could dream of an upset for the first 35 minutes of Saturday's football game.
The Illinois Fighting Illini, however, scored three touchdowns within six minutes in the third quarter to turn a tied game into a 38-10 loss for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers (2-7 overall, 0-6 in the Big Ten) got a touchdown and a field goal in the second quarter to send the game into halftime tied at 10 at Memorial Stadium.
With Rutgers down 10-0 in the second quarter, junior Mohamed Jabbie scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 31-yard pass from redshirt freshman Johnny Langan on a third down. Jabbie finished the game with a career-high 64 receiving yards on three catches. On the ground, freshman Aaron Young averaged 5.2 yards per carry with a season-best 67 yards on 13 attempts. Langan added 41 yards after running the ball 23 times.
Sophomore CJ Onyechi and junior Julius Turner registered sacks on defense. Redshirt freshman Christian Izien and sophomore Olakunle Fatuskasi tied the team high with seven tackles.
Junior Justin Davidovicz converted a 25-yard field goal for his fourth-straight successful attempt. He is now 14-for-15 in his career on attempts inside 40 yards.
Rutgers is off next weekend before hosting No. 3 Ohio State on Nov. 16 at SHI Stadium. The kickoff time and television network have not been announced.
After each team went three-and-out to start, Illinois used an eight-play drive capped by 10-yard rush by Dre Brown to take a 7-0 lead with 8:38 left in the opening period. James McCourt converted a 33-yard field goal on the next Fighting Illini drive to make it 10-0.
The Scarlet Knights found the end zone with 12:25 left in the second quarter when Langan found Jabbie for a 31-yard completion on third down to cut the game to 10-7. The play ended an 11-play scoring drive that spanned 75 yards over 5:03.
The defense used sacks by Onyechi and Turner to stifle Illinois drives, as Rutgers took the ball with 4:59 left in the half and drove down for a tying field goal. Young had 43 rushing yards on five carries to setup up a successful 25-yard attempt by Davidovicz that made it 10-10 at halftime.
After Brandon Peters picked up 54 yards on the ground, Brown scored from two yards out to give Illinois a 17-10 lead at the 9:08 mark. The Fighting Illini then took advantage of two RU fumbles to build a 31-10 lead.
A 54-yard interception return by Dele Harding went down as the final score in the game.