Illinois 45, Cincinnati 17: Nathan Scheelhaase threw for four touchdowns and the host Illini benefited from a controversial replay overturn to match their win total from last season.
Munchie Legaux rushed for a team-high 52 yards and threw for 237 yards and a touchdown for the Bearcats (1-1) before he was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a serious left leg injury when he took a high-low hit from Houston Bates and Tim Kynard. Legaux was loaded into the ambulance and taken to a hospital for further observation.
Scheelhaase went 26-for-37 for 312 yards and tossed one TD pass in every quarter – all of which covered at least 22 yards – for Illinois, which went 2-10 a season ago. Donovonn Young rushed for a game-high 64 yards and a late touchdown to cap off 17 unanswered fourth-quarter points for the Illini (2-0).
Scheelhaase sandwiched first-half touchdown passes of 48 yards to Josh Ferguson and 23 yards to Evan Wilson around a 29-yard score on an end-around by Ryan Lankford as Illinois jumped out to a 21-0 lead. Legaux got Cincinnati on the board on a 1-yard TD pass to Max Morrison eight seconds before intermission.
The Bearcats trimmed the deficit to 21-10 on their first drive out of the break and Legaux appeared to score on a fourth-and-goal conversion on the next drive, but the initial touchdown call was overturned when it was ruled he fumbled the ball short of the goal line. Scheelhaase responded by leading a 12-play, 99-yard drive, capped by a 22-yard TD pass to Steve Hull on the ensuing drive.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Ferguson’s TD catch gave Illinois its seventh play of at least 30 yards through two games, one more than it had all of last season. … The Bearcats collected at least three turnovers in each of their last three contests, but did not force a miscue on Saturday. … The Illini amassed 522 total yards, posting 400-yard games in back-to-back contests for the first time since three straight such games from Sept. 24 - Oct. 8. 2011.