With the two worst scoring defenses in the Big Ten meeting in Champaign, Ill., some might have expected an even higher scoring output than Indiana’s 31-17 win against Illinois.
The Hoosiers converted on just one of 12 third-down attempts, while the Illini were better in that category (7 of 17). But Illinois couldn’t convert when it counted, including several quality chances near the end of the game, and two fumbles as well as 81 penalty yards eventually were too much to overcome.
For Indiana it was junior Stephen Houston who headlined the day, continuing his scoring tour. Against the Illini, he accounted for three touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving. It marked the ninth consecutive game (dating to last season) that the running back has gotten into the end zone.
And Indiana’s front four was more effective than it has been all season, sacking Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase seven times. But alternatively, the pressure up front allowed enough holes in the defense to give the Illini 196 yards on the ground.
With the win, Indiana moved to 1-3 in the Big Ten (1-1 in Leaders Division), while Illinois drops to 0-3, including a Leaders Division worst 0-4 record.