CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Nathan Scheelhaase won a matchup of freshmen quarterbacks, rushing for 118 yards and throwing for 195 and four touchdowns Saturday to lead Illinois past Purdue, 44-10.
Purdue quarterback Sean Robinson was 7-20 for 52 yards and a touchdown. The Boilermakers (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) struggled in a chilly wind and had just 64 yards at halftime.
Illinois (5-3, 3-2) led 14-0 before Purdue had run its fifth play and was ahead 30-0 midway through the third quarter.
Illinois took a 14-0 first quarter lead on a pair of drives that, combined with a tricky kickoff, deprived Purdue of the ball for the final 11:28 of the period.
The Illini went up 7-0 on a 17-yard pass to A.J. Jenkins and an extra point by Derek Dimke with just under seven minutes to play in the quarter.
On the kickoff, Dimke blasted the ball short and hard, right at Purdue's Joe Holland. The ball bounced off Holland and Illinois' Nate Bussey recovered at his own 42.
The Illini moved the ball to the Boilermakers' goal line over the next 10 plays and, on fourth down, Leshoure punched into the end zone over a low, hard hit by linebacker Dwayne Beckford.
With the quarter all but over, Purdue had run four plays and was down two touchdowns.
In the second quarter, Robinson was limited to just six first-half passes, and only two completions.
Robinson and fellow freshman and usual starter Rob Henry split time at quarterback, but Robinson handled all the passing duties. Henry played with a badly hurt forefinger on his throwing hand after cutting it and losing the nail a week earlier in a 49-0 loss to Ohio State.
The wind also played heck with the Boilermakers' special teams, and that, combined with their lack of a passing game, handed Illinois points.
With just under two minutes to play in the first half, the Boilermakers were forced to start a drive at their own 11 after Waynelle Gravesande struggled to handle a punt in the wind. He fell on the ball just ahead of a diving Illinois player.
Purdue couldn't move the ball, and Carson Wiggs punted low to keep the ball out of the wind, but it traveled only 22 yards.
The Fighting Illini, taking the ball with 41 seconds on the clock, drove to the Purdue 1 before settling for a Dimke field goal and a 17-0 lead as the first half ended.
With the wind at their backs, the Illini used the first eight minutes of the second half to sock the game away.
First the Illini drove to the Purdue 20, where Scheelhaase dropped back and looked left to Leshoure, wide open in the end zone. The quarterback floated a ball to the tailback, who had time to walk backward to adjust to the flight of the ball before easing it in for a touchdown without a Purdue player near him. With the kick, Illinois led 24-0.
Less than a minute later, Purdue's Al-Terek McBurse fumbled the ball and Illinois' Martez Wilson recovered at the Purdue 26.
Four plays later, Leshoure jabbed the ball in from the 1, and Illinois was well out of reach at 30-0 with 7 minutes to play in the third quarter.
Leshoure had just 23 yards on 15 carries but finished with three touchdowns, two on the ground and one in the air.
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