Freshman leads Illini past Hoosiers, 55-13
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Jason Ford rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns to lead Illinois to a 55-13 win over Indiana.
Ford, a true freshman starting in place of usual starter Daniel Dufrene, scored on touchdown runs of 41 and 5 yards as the Illini (4-3, 2-2) handed Indiana (2-5, 0-4) its fifth straight loss.
The Hoosiers played without quarterback Kellen Lewis, nursing a high-ankle sprain. Stand-in Ben Chappell threw for just 168 yards and was sacked three times.
The Illini bounced back from a 27-20 loss to Minnesota by scoring on their first possession. Juice Williams’ 1-yard pass to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was set up by a 60-yarder to Will Judson.
By halftime the Illini had opened up a 28-7 lead that the Hoosiers, minus Lewis, were ill-equipped to overcome.
Williams finished 16-of-22 for 271 yards and three touchdowns. By recent standards he had a quiet night. He piled up a combined 934 yards the previous two weeks, in the Minnesota loss and a win at Michigan.
But Williams had his pick of targets against an out-manned Hoosier pass defense.
Judson flew past cornerback Chris Adkins for the 60-yard pass that set up the opening touchdown, and, similarly receiver Jeff Cumberland blew by linebacker Justin Carrington for a 20-yard TD late in the first quarter.
Indiana, which came into the game after a 45-9 home loss to Iowa, has given up 100 points and 971 yards in its past two games.
Bryan Payton led the Hoosiers with 66 yards rushing and a touchdown. He scored on a 25-yard run with just over a minute left in the first quarter that made the score 14-7.
The win kept the Illini in the hunt for a bowl, but the Hoosiers’ hopes of making it to back-to-back bowls for the first time since 1990-91 are all but gone.