CHAMPAIGN, fig. (AP) Chase Brown became the first Illinois to run backwards over 100 yards in five consecutive matches, Tommy DeVito folded 329 yards and three touchdowns, and the Fighting Illinois eliminated Chattanooga 31-0 on Thursday night.
Illinois has recovered to 3-1 and has the best start since 2015.
Brown limited the five-play, 64-yard shooter with a 9-yard touchdown run after the defense forced Chattanooga (3-1) to three and cars in the first round.
He ended up with 108 yards out of 20 leads and is currently leading all FBS rushers with 604 yards for four games.
The closest to the goal scored by the Mocs came early in the second quarter when they reached the 16-yard line in Illinois. Jartavius Martin cleared Preston Hutchinson’s pass in the end zone to end the Mocs threat.
The ils recorded their first dropout since winning over Western Illinois in 2015.
Chattanooga only made 4 out of 14 in their third contact for a total of 142 yards. Illinois imposed a 502 yards offensive.
Hutchinson was sacked four times and only made 6 of 18 passes over 49 yards with two steals.
Illinois nearly quadrupled the total length of Chattanoogi’s first half meter, from 332 yards to 84 yards and led 24-0 at halftime.
On Thursday evening, for the first time in Illinois football history, two receiveers reached over 100 receiving yards, and one runner ran over 100 yards in the same game. Pat Bryant caught six passes for 112 yards and a touchdown while Isaiah Williams pulled nine passes for 103 yards and scored.
Williams’ 63-yard touchdown after a screen pass was 31-0 at 4:56 before the end of the third game.
DeVito became the first quarterback from Illinois to walk over 300 yards in a match since Brandon Peters threw 369 yards at Michigan State in 2019.
Ailym Ford bounced off runs of 39 and 32 yards to take the Mocs biggest victories of the night. He finished 93 yards by 17 carries.
Andrew Southard failed to score from 43 yards at the start of the third quarter after Ford took the Mocs out of Illinois territory from 32 yards.
Caleb Griffin scored from the field from 34 yards, putting Illinois 10-0 in the first quarter.
Illinois: The Illinois: The ils prepared themselves well for the better-than-usual FCS opponent and dominated well to put themselves in a good position to appear in the two-thirds bowl of the schedule. Illinois is a step or two away from competing in the wide-open Great West Ten with a stellar defense and a significantly improved pass att*ck with new offensive coordinator, Barry Lunney Jr.
Chattanooga: The Mocs can blame it on talent gap and a brief respite after a strong campaign start. Rusty Wright’s group may be in the mix for the November South Conference title.
IN THE FUTURE
Chattanooga: The Mocs visit East Tennessee State on October 1.
Illinois: Bielema returns to its old grounds as the Illinois play Wisconsin on October 1.
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