Through the first two weeks of the college football season, the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-0) looked very impressive against two teams, Arkansas State and South Dakota State, that they should have beaten. Saturday night they faced their first true test of the season against the nationally ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1). The Illini passed the test as they held on to beat Arizona State 17-14.
Jason Ford got the Illini on the board in the first quarter scoring on a one yard touchdown run which capped a five play 38 yard drive. Arizona State would quickly rebound on their next possesion marching down the field 80 yards on 11 plays and tied the game on a 21 yard touchdown pass from Brock Osweiler to Gerell Robinson. The Illini would kick a field goal the next time they had the ball to take a 10-7 lead and it looked like we might be in for a shootout. Both team's defenses would think otherwise.
Neither team would put any points on the board until the fourth quarter when Arizona State took their first lead of the game when Osweiler ran one in from 14 yards to put ASU up 14-10. The Illini wouldn't go away though as they took the lead back for good when quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase connected with A.J. Jenkins who, with some fancy footwork, stayed inbounds and scored from 16 yards out to put Illinois ahead 17-14.
The Illini were led on the ground by Scheelhaase who ran for 67 yards and threw for another 135.
Illinois will next play Western Michigan at home on Saturday.