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Illini trample Hoosiers to end losing streak in Big Ten openers

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Rashard Mendenhall ran for a career-high 214 yards and one touchdown, scored on a reception and the Illinois defense forced four turnovers and blocked a punt in a 27-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

It was Illinois' first win in a Big Ten opener since 1993.

Indiana (3-1, 0-1) had won two straight in the series, but the nation's No. 7 rushing offense was limited to just 134 yards -- about half its previous average. The Hoosiers were led by Kellen Lewis, who was 26-of-51 for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

Juice Williams was 13-of-28 for 98 yards and two touchdowns to help Illinois (3-1, 1-0) put away the Hoosiers.

Mendenhall was even better, carrying 27 times and easily surpassing his previous career-best of 162 yards rushing last October against Penn State.

Illinois controlled the game from the start. Jason Reda kicked two early field goals and when Williams threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Hoomanawanui early in the second quarter, it was 13-0.

Lewis answered late in the half with a 7-yard TD pass to James Hardy to get Indiana within 13-7.

One problem: Williams had 2:04 left on the clock, enough time to methodically lead Illinois on a 68-yard scoring drive. The final play was a swing pass to Mendenhall, who made a nifty cut in the flat to get free for a 15-yard score and a 20-7 halftime lead.

Illinois sealed the win with 12:45 to go when Mendenhall powered in from 6 yards out, following an Indiana fumble, for a 27-7 lead.

Lewis threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to James Bailey, who slithered through the middle of the Illinois defense on his way the end zone, cutting the deficit to 27-14. But Lewis was picked off in the end zone with about 1 minute left to go, ending comeback hopes.