Commentary

Memories of an upset

Illinois' Benn, Williams return to the Horseshoe

Originally Published: September 21, 2009
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Illinois' Arrelious Benn and Juice Williams have two different memories of upsetting Ohio State in Columbus in 2007 as they prepare to return to the Horseshoe on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeArrelious Benn
Jeff Curry/US PresswireArrelious Benn is fuzzy on the details of Illinois' 2007 upset of Ohio State.
For Benn, it was a blur. He caught one pass, suffered a concussion and sat out the rest of the game.

"Man, I couldn't even tell you what was going on," said Benn on Monday afternoon. "I had no clue what was going on. I was knocked out, I was woozy. I don't want to feel like that again."

Williams, on the other hand, would like to feel like he did on that November day in 2007. In the 28-21 win over the previously undefeated Buckeyes, Williams threw for four touchdowns and rushed for three first downs to run out the game's final eight minutes.

"Every time we pulled out a third-down conversion it was more of a sigh of relief," Williams said. "I remember that drive was very nerve-racking, not knowing what to expect … I would say it was one of the most memorable. It's hard to pick out the moment to define my career."

Now this Saturday, both would like to leave Ohio State with Williams' memories rather than Benn's.

This week could actually be the first time Benn and Williams share the same field for an entire game this season. In the season opener, Benn left early with an injury. In Week 2, Williams was sidelined with his own injury in the first quarter.

"We say our season starts Sept. 26 at Ohio State," Benn said. "We haven't really had a chance to really play together. We're going to work hard this week. We're going to work hard after practice to get our rhythm back."

While Illinois has had success traveling into the Buckeyes' house -- the Illini have won seven of the past 10 in Columbus -- it doesn't make the challenge any easier this season, according to Williams.

"I believe the win two years ago was a great time in the Illinois program history, but that was two years ago," Williams said. "Two different teams, two different attitudes coming into that situation. It'll take every ounce in our body to pull out another win of that magnitude. Hopefully we have that in us."

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is the Blackhawks beat reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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