The Tim Beckman era in Champaign began with a win this afternoon, as the Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 24-7.
Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led the way for Illinois, throwing for 126 yards, one touchdown, and an interception on 18 attempts, while rushing for 21 yards and another touchdown.
Scheelhaase, though, went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter and was replaced by Reilly O'Toole. O'Toole, a sophomore signalcaller for the Illini, finished the day 2-for-3 with seven yards.
The extent of Scheelhaase's injury remains uncertain.
The biggest play of the day came from Illinois defensive back Ashante Williams, who returned an intercepted Broncos pass for 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, sealing an Illini victory.
Western Michigan struggled significantly on offense, having difficulty generating positive yards and maintaining possession of the football. Broncos quarterback Alex Carder threw two interceptions on the day, gaining 252 yards through the air and throwing for one touchdown and three interceptions. On the ground, Western Michigan's struggles were even more pronounced, as their team rushing total was -7 yards.
Illinois looks to maintain the momentum provided by this win into next Saturday, as the Fighting Illini will travel to Tempe, AZ to face the Arizona State Sun Devils.