Recap: Illinois vs. Texas State
Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh Ferguson ran for a career-high 190 yards and two touchdowns as Illinois fought back to capture a 42-35 victory over the Texas State Bobcats in non-conference action at Memorial Stadium.
Ferguson ran the ball 14 times for the Fighting Illini (3-1) as they bounced back from a 44-19 loss to Washington last weekend. Quarterback Wes Lunt converted 25-of-39 for 266 yards and two touchdowns, was intercepted once and suffered a sack.
For Texas State (1-2), quarterback Tyler Jones hit on 29-of-43 for 336 yards and four scores, but he was taken down for four sacks and had one attempt picked off in a game that was delayed nearly two hours early in the second quarter due to inclement weather. Ben Ijah turned five receptions into 65 yards and two TDs in the setback.
On the first play on the first drive of the contest, Ferguson broke through for a 75-yard touchdown run, although the extra point was no good.
About five minutes later, the Bobcats pulled in front on a four-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Ijah. Jones followed that up later in the quarter with an 11-yard scoring strike to Jafus Gaines, making it 14-6.
Following the lengthy break in the action, Texas State moved the ball into Illini territory, but had to settle for a 45-yard field goal attempt by Jason Dann, who promptly pushed the kick wide left with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Later in the period the Bobcats again made their way down the field, aided by a targeting penalty assessed to Earnest Thomas, who was subsequently ejected, and capped off by Jones as he ran into the end zone over the right side from one yard out.
On their next possession, the Illini moved the ball 65 yards in a little over a minute, culminating with a two-yard scoring run by Ferguson, but still the visitors enjoyed a 21-13 advantage at the half.
After an abbreviated intermission, Illinois needed only two minutes to narrow the gap as Lunt hooked up with Ferguson for a 33-yard TD, but the hosts then went for the tie and failed on the two-point conversion attempt by Lunt, leaving the Illini with a 21-19 deficit.
The Bobcats were three-and-out on their next possession, giving the ball back to Illinois at the 31-yard line. Lunt completed passes to Donovonn Young, Justin Hardee and Mike Dudek, with Young taking the ball in for the touchdown from three yards out on the ground. However, again Lunt failed on a two-point try, limiting the Illini lead to just four points, 25-21.
Before the end of the third, Texas State was able to respond with a 12-yard TD pass from Jones to Ijah, giving the lead back to the visitors, 28-25.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the final period belonged to the hosts as Illinois ripped off 17 straight points to take control. The run began with a seven-yard TD catch by Dudek, continued with a 19-yard David Reisner field goal and finished up with a 45-yard interception return for a TD by VAngelo Bentley.
Trailing by double figures, TSU was able to cut the deficit to seven points when Jones hooked up with Brandon Smith on a nine-yard TD, but that's as close as the Bobcats would get before suffering the road loss.Game Notes