Indiana capitalized on two crucial Illinois penalties and a fumbled punt to take a 21-14 lead at halftime Saturday.
A late hit by Justin Staples and an offsides call on Glenn Foster kept two different Indiana drives alive, with both resulting in touchdowns. The second score was set up by a muffed punt, Tommy Davis' second fumble of the year.
Illinois scored first on a two-yard pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to tight end Eddie Viliunas, taking a lead in a game for the first time since the first half of the Wisconsin game.
Indiana answered with a nine-play 75-yard scoring drive, with running back Stephen Houston finding the end zone on a short run.
The two teams continued the fast pace into the second quarter. Illinois took a 14-7 lead on a 5-yard run by Scheelhaase. Indiana tied the game after taking advantage of the late hit penalty with Houston scoring his second touchdown of the game.
From there the scoring slowed. Each team had to punt on back-to-back drives, but Davis fumbled. That set up Indiana's third score of the game, a 7-yard run by Houston immediately following Foster's penalty.
Player of the half: Indiana RB Stephen Houston. The junior entered the game with four touchdowns on the season. He nearly doubled that total in the first half, scoring two rushing touchdowns and added another with a catch.
Stat of the half: Third down efficiency. Illinois held Indiana on third down (1-of-7), but the two penalties and fumbled punt negated the advantage obtained.
Play of the half: Late hit on DE Justin Staples. On a third and short early in the second quarter, Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld ran out of bounds, meaning the Hoosiers would have to punt. But after Sudfield took two full steps out of bounds, Staples knocked him down, receiving a 15-yard penalty. The next play, Sudfield completed a 48-yard pass to Cody Latimer and Indiana scored three plays later to tie the game at 14.
What went right: Running the football. Illinois averaged 5.2 yards per rush, as Donovonn Young went for 74 yards and Scheelhaase added 50 more. Those two ran the read-option effectively for most of the half. The offense moved the ball well with the ground game opened up and led to a few big pass plays due to play-action.
What went wrong: Second quarter stall. The Illini ran only 14 plays over the last 10 minutes of the second quarter after operating at a high level early in the game. Two punts were the result of the final two drives, as the unit accounted for only 39 yards.