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Orton Engineers Purdue Victory Over Illinois
Ron Turner's Illini (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference) hurt themselves by fumbling an end-around on their first play from scrimmage. The Boilermakers (3-0, 1-0) recovered the ball at the Illinois 5-yard line. Three plays later, Orton hit Taylor Stubblefield for a 2-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.
Illini receiver Ade Adeyamo, who bobbled the handoff from returning quarterback Jon Beutjer, broke his left fibula on the play and will be out from six to eight weeks.
The offenses went back and forth trading blows and the Illini took over for their final drive at their own 14-yard line and needing to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion in under a minute. On the second play of the drive, Beutjer was hit and fumbled the ball away to the Boilermakers, who recovered the ball near the goal line and ran out the clock to end the game.
In his first action since the UCLA game two weeks ago, Beutjer tossed three touchdowns to Illini receivers. The Illini signal caller connected with Anthony McClellan (five yards) and Jason Davis (two yards and 26 yards) for scores. Beutjer was 22 of 37 passing for 215 yards and no interceptions.
A bevy of Illinois running backs helped the Illini out gain Purdue on the ground, 175 yards to 149 yards. E.B. Halsey was the leading rusher for Illinois with 83 yards on 15 carries. Jason Davis ran the ball eight times for 77 yards and Pierre Thomas also had eight attempts for 48 yards. Thomas returned three punts for 121 yards, with a long return of 72 yards.
The leading receiver for Illinois was Kendrick Jones, who caught four passes for 75 yards.
Adding to the Illinois scoring were kickers Jason Reda and Steve Weatherford. Reda hit field goals from 22 and 24 yards out, while Weatherford was good from 48 yards away. The Boilermakers blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt by Weatherford.
Illinois' defense had their hands full all day with Heisman Trophy candidate Orton. The Boilermakers offense gained a total of 515 yards in the game. Orton completed 32 of 50 pass attempts for 366 yards. Orton has not been intercepted this season. Orton also scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
Stubblefield was Orton's favorite target with 11 catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Jones caught seven passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. Jones also toted the ball 15 times for 77 yards.
The Illini, who proved they can compete with a top-Big Ten team, will get another chance next week. Illinois hits the road for the first time this season and will face Wisconsin in Madison. The Badgers defeated Penn State on Saturday to improve their record to 4-0.
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