RUtgers beats Illinois 35-24

Oct 15, 2017

By: Associated Press

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — After a 56-0 beat down by then-No. 11 Ohio State two weeks ago, Rutgers had hit rock bottom — particularly in the Big Ten.

 
The Scarlet Knights tried to turn their lowest point into a turning point on Saturday, managing nearly 400 yards of total offense in a 35-24 win over Illinois.
 
Gus Edwards led the way for Rutgers (2-4, 1-2), rushing for 91 yards and two touchdowns as it ended a 16-game losing streak in the Big Ten.
 
 
The Scarlet Knights led the entire way for their first conference victory since 2015 at Indiana.
 
"Nobody gave us a chance to come out here and win a football game," Rutgers coach Chris Ash said. "I know that, but nobody gave up on each other in that locker room."
 
Rutgers rushed for a season-high 274 yards. Edwards, Raheem Blackshear and Josh Hicks all scored touchdowns. Blackshear provided the most exciting run — a 19-yard gain up the middle on the Scarlet Knights' second possession that he finished by running over defensive back Jalen Dunlap at the goal line.
 
Jeff George Jr. was 20-of-38 passing for a career-high 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Illinois (2-4, 0-3). George also threw two interceptions, totaling 12 in seven career games for the Illini, who have now lost six consecutive Big Ten games.
 
"Losing at home like that, it's a tough deal," George said. "We've got to find a way to be more competitive as a whole team — each individual player, myself included."
 
The Scarlet Knights offense wasn't nearly as effective through the air. Ash benched Kyle Bolin — who started in the team's first five games — and went with Giovanni Rescigno, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 89 yards.
 
However, Rescigno picked up 45 yards on the ground.
 
"I think the stats speak for themselves," Rescigno said. "So shout out to the o-line. ... They really dominated up front and I think that was huge for our success."
 
Ra'Von Bonner scored Illinois' only rushing touchdown midway through the second quarter. After a 19-yard reception by Louis Dorsey to start to the drive, Ricky Smalling made a tough catch on the right sideline to put the Illini in the red zone. Bonner finished it with a 1-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal.