Scores

Final

E Illinois 17

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Illinois 42

(1-0, 1-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, September 2, 2006

Memorial Stadium, CHAMPAIGN, IL

1 2 3 4 T
EIU 0 14 0 317
ILL 14 14 7 742

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brasic (ILL) - 149 YDS

Rushing: P. Thomas (ILL) - 15 CAR, 126 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: M. Rucker (EIU) - 4 REC, 105 YDS, 1 TD

Illinois 42, Eastern Illinois 17

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Tim Brasic threw for 149 yards and Pierre Thomas rushed for 126 yards on 15 carries as Illinois snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 42-17 victory over Eastern Illinois in the first-ever game between the schools.

Thomas and Rashard Mendenhall scored two touchdowns each as the Illini had 519 yards of offense, rushing for six touchdowns and more than 300 yards for the first time since a 63-21 win over Virginia in the 1999 MicronPC.com Bowl. E.B. Halsey rushed for 82 yards, including a 39-yard TD run, and Brasic scored from 4 yards out.

Mendenhall rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries as Illinois (1-0), opening its second season under Ron Zook, broke a losing skid that stretched back to last season's third game.

Division I-AA Eastern Illinois (0-1) played the game without head coach Bob Spoo, who had surgery earlier in the week and is expected to miss four to six weeks. The Panthers scored on a 20-yard pass from Mike Donato to Micah Rucker and a 33-yard flanker option pass from Justin Duhai to Ryan Voss, and Zach Yates added a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Eastern's night took a nasty turn on the opening kickoff when linebacker Clint Sellers, last season's defensive player of the year in the Ohio Valley Conference, injured his right shoulder tackling Halsey. Sellers lay motionless on the turf for several minutes before he walked slowly off the field. He did not return.

Without Sellers in the game, Brasic found the middle of the field to his liking, leading the Illini on scoring drives of 90, 83, 80 and 54 yards. His longest throw of the night was a 25-yard completion to Derrick McPhearson in the third quarter.

The Illini got a glimpse of the future when freshman quarterback Isiah "Juice" Williams entered the game to start the second quarter and took the team on a 12-play, 61-yard TD march, punctuated by his own 9-yard run and a 16-yard pass to Mendenhall, whose 1-yard plunge gave Illinois a 21-7 lead.

However, Williams fumbled at his own 33 on the first play of Illinois' next possession and Eastern scored two plays later on Duhai's throw to Voss to close to 21-14 before Brasic came back and led the final two scoring drives. Williams also played the fourth quarter for Illinois.

Donato completed 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards for Eastern, which went undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference last season and brought back 16 starters.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
EIU
ILL
1st Downs1624
Total Yards293519
Passing187174
Rushing106345
Penalties2-255-28
3rd Down Conversions4-118-11
4th Down Conversions0-01-1
Turnovers23
Possession30:1229:48

Passing Leaders

Eastern IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Duhai1/13333.010-
Stinson3/7202.900-
IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Williams2/4256.300-
Brasic13/171498.800-

Rushing Leaders

Eastern IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Webb18643.6012
Smith6355.809
IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Thomas Jr.151268.4238
Halsey11827.5139

Receiving Leaders

Eastern IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Rucker410526.3138
Parsill3227.3017
IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall45012.5016
Hudson3175.7011

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTEREIUILL
TD9:29E.B. HALSEY 39 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 3 plays, 61 yards.
07
TD2:15PIERRE THOMAS JR. 6 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 12 plays, 90 yards.
014
SECOND QUARTEREIUILL
TD13:51MICAH RUCKER 20 YD PASS FROM MIKE DONATO (ZACH YATES KICK)
Drive info: 7 plays, 81 yards.
714
TD8:40RASHARD MENDENHALL 1 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 12 plays, 61 yards.
721
TD5:29RYAN VOSS 33 YD PASS FROM JUSTIN DUHAI (ZACH YATES KICK)
Drive info: 2 plays, 33 yards.
1421
TD0:28PIERRE THOMAS JR. 1 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 11 plays, 83 yards.
1428
THIRD QUARTEREIUILL
TD7:58TIM BRASIC 4 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
1435
FOURTH QUARTEREIUILL
TD14:07RASHARD MENDENHALL 2 YD RUN (JASON REDA KICK)
Drive info: 9 plays, 54 yards.
1442
FG5:31ZACH YATES 42 YD FG
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yards.
1742