Illini deliver dominant first half in Houston

Illinois has been the much better team so far tonight in the Texas Bowl.

The bigger surprise: Nathan Scheelhaase has been the much better quarterback than Baylor's Robert Griffin III.

Scheelhaase completed all 13 of his first-half pass attempts for 169 yards as Illinois has stormed out to a 16-0 lead. The redshirt freshman completed less than 50 percent of his passes in each of his final three regular-season games, including a 5-for-16 performance in a loss to Fresno State, but he has clearly made strides during bowl prep.

Illinois' efficient pass game has opened things up for running back Mikel Leshoure (85 rush yards, TD).

Griffin, meanwhile, has been a disaster, overthrowing his receivers and twice fumbling. Illinois star defensive tackle Corey Liuget is having a big night as the Illini limited Baylor to only 148 first-half yards. Liuget's roughing-the-passer penalty appeared to give Baylor life near the end of the half, but Griffin's fumble turned the momentum back to the Orange and Blue.

So far, so good for Illinois, which is putting things together in all three phases and playing to its talent level.