(WCIA) — The run game continues to be a driving force for Illinois, and they finally used it to crank out their first win of the season, 23-20 over Rutgers.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Williams set a program record with his 192 rushing yards, making it the most in a single game by an Illini quarterback. The Illini put up 341 yards on the ground, with Chase Brown leading the runningbacks with 131 yards. This makes Brown and Williams only the second QB/Runningback duo to both 130+ yards in a game in Illinois history.
“I just wanted to make a play every play,” says Williams. “I knew mistakes was going to be made but the next play we got the same mindset. That was the biggest thing, so I was just confident out there, and I just wanted to make plays.”
The Illini takeaways can’t be overlooked, either. The Illini showed some signs of improvement on the defensive side of the ball with three interceptions on Saturday. Jake Hansen led the defense with 15 tackles, and a pick. Nate Hobbs also showed up with eight tackles, including an interception when the game was tied, and less than two minutes on the clock.
“We thrive off turnovers, so when we get those turnovers it brings energy it brings juice, it brings momentum,” says Hobbs. “We’re literally taking the ball away, and if we don’t get into the end zone we’re giving the offense another chance to score, and it’s just really game-changing, and I want to say that’s why we got the W.”
The Illini will travel to Lincoln next. They face Nebraska for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff on Saturday.