Illinois 23 - USF 47
It was our second straight game under the lights on a Friday night in Tamp Bay and it was not the ending us Illini fans were hoping for. The game was first delayed by 37 minutes due to lightening in the area. Then the first half lasted forever with 26 pentalties by both teams and they were closing in on a record of 36 pentalties, but closed out the game with 31 between the two teams. There were to ejections in the game for targeting, so needless to say it was just plain ugly. Then No. 22 USF literally ran the ball at will against the Illini accumulating a total of 376 yards to Illinois' 67 yards. USF had a total of 680 yards for the game to Illinois' 354 yards. USF controlled the ball for over 37 minutes mostly due to their running game.
Once again the very young Illini saw 18 freshmen see action in the game. Chayce Crouch started the game but was unable to get the Illini offense going. Jeff George came in during the third quarter and was able to mount some offense in the second half with his passing.
Early in the game the defense was able to trottle the USF offense by blocking a field goal and an extra point. But, as the game wore on the USF offense just wore down the defense with their continual pounding of the ball on the ground.
Mike Epstein was only able to muster 56 yards running the ball on 8 carries. One carry was for 45 yards and a touchdown. He later cought a Jeff George pass for touchdown. Mike Dudek had a nice catch and run along the sideline before stepping out of bounds.
The Illini will take a week off this coming week before taking on Nebraska in their BIG 10 opener on Friday night, September 29th.