Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (2) looks for an open receiver during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase tears it up with 5 TDs in one half

The Illinois Fighting Illini have one more year before Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt is eligible to play, and the Illini’s senior quarterback is doing his best to make this a year to remember for the Illini fateful. Scheelhaase had just four touchdown passes compard to eight interceptions in an awful 2012 campaign, and he beat out that total of four TD passes last season in one half today with five touchdown passes.

Nathan Scheelhaase just beat up on an inferior opponent in the Miami (OH) RedHawks, as he completed 19 of 24 passes for 278 yards, which is an excellent 11.6 yards per attempt. Scheelhaase didn’t throw a touchdown pass after the first half, but that’s because Illinois pumped the breaks at home against the now 0-4 RedHawks. They pulled Scheelhaase after the game was well in hand, and his lone blemish was an interception.

Five touchdown passes is nothing to sneeze at no matter the opponent, and he did a great job after bouncing back from last week’s debacle against the Washington Huskies. “Debacle” is putting things very kindly, as Scheelhaase completed just 36% of his passes against UW. Coming into the game, Scheelhaase was averaging a hefty nine yards per attempt, and that number is certainly going to go up.

Two things to note from the game as well. Scheelhaase had one 11-yard run, and he had a touchdown pass dropped in the end zone on one occasion. His favorite red zone target was tight end Matt LaCosse, who totaled two touchdown receptions on just three total catches for 68 yards. Josh Ferguson was Illinois’s leading receiver with five receptions for 77 yards, and the Illinois ground game was also highly effective with 6.7 yards per attempt. It was Miami (OH), but it was still an impressive 50-14 victory for Tim Beckman and his bunch.

Tags: Football Illinois Fighting Illini Nathan Scheelhaase

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