Illinois wins opener, overcomes injury to Nathan Scheelhaase

Illinois wins opener, overcomes injury to Nathan Scheelhaase
September 1, 2012, 8:25 pm
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- With quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams.
The Illini opened up a 17-0 lead but their offense stalled when Scheelhaase left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter. Illinois struggled to move the ball after that and the Broncos came to life, scoring on an 8-yard touchdown from Alex Carder to Jaime Wilson to make it 17-7 just before the end of the quarter.
Western Michigan reached the Illinois 46 when Carder looked for Wilson again, but Williams stepped in front of the receiver and raced to the end zone.
The win was Beckman's first at Illinois after he was hired from Toledo to replace Ron Zook.
Scheelhaase was 11 of 18 for 126 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for a touchdown.
Carder finished 26 of 43 for 239 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. In last season's game between the teams, Carder threw for more than 300 yards in Illinois' 23-20 victory.
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