CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- E.B. Halsey's 40-yard punt return and a
pass interference penalty in the end zone set up Illinois' winning
touchdown with 1:02 remaining in a 30-27 win over Western Michigan
Halsey returned the punt to the Western Michigan 40 and Illinois
(2-1) moved to the 19 in four plays. On second-and-3, Illini
quarterback Brad Bower tried to hit Ade Adeyamo in the right corner
of the end zone, but Adeyamo was hit before the ball arrived.
The penalty put the ball on the Western Michigan 4 and Halsey
scored his second TD of the day on the next play. The Illinois
defense kept the Broncos pinned back in the final minute.
Western Michigan (1-2) had taken a 27-23 lead with 6:56
remaining after Blake Sims ran an interception back 56 yards to the
Illinois 44. Eight plays later, Ryan Cubit hit Greg Jennings from 3
Bower, a redshirt freshman playing for injured starter Jon
Beutjer, completed 10 of 19 passes for 177 yards. He was
intercepted twice. Halsey rushed 20 times for 91 yards and Adeyamo
caught 6 passes for 93 yards.
The Broncos moved the ball easily on the Illinois defense,
rolling up 406 yards to Illinois' 353. Western Michigan running
back Trovon Riley carried the ball 17 times for 75 yards and
freshman Mark Bonds had 13 carries for 71 yards.
Cubit was 27-of-41 for 273 yards.
Western Michigan kicked its first two field goals of the season
in the first half. Nate Meyer connected from 50 yards out and
Robert Menchinger hit from 22 to break a string of four straight
Illinois kicker Jason Reda connected on a 34-yard field goal,
but missed an extra point -- breaking a string of 202 consecutive
extra point kicks for Illinois.