Weekend deals records, injuries

By Courtney Linehan

For the second consecutive season, Illinois’ is one of the youngest teams in college football. The Illini have played 15 true freshmen this season; only Temple and Florida State have played more.

One of those freshmen made a big impression against Indiana.

True freshman corner Vonte Davis had 9 tackles on Saturday, second most on the team behind only junior linebacker J Leman and better than any Indiana player.

In a game where Illinois’ defense seemed to lose steam, Davis’ 9 tackles were a career high for the Washington, D.C. native.

Davis has started every game this season after a stunning showing in preseason camp. In his first college game, Davis recorded two tackles, one tackle for loss, and an end zone interception that ended an Eastern scoring effort.


On Saturday, two Illini moved up to seventh place in the Illini record books.

E.B. Halsey collected 126 yards rushing, more than twice what he needed to jump to seventh place on Illinois’ all-time rushing list. He now has 2,265 career yards. Against Michigan State, he passed Red Grange’s 2,071.

Kicker Jason Reda scored two field goals against Indiana, moving him to seventh place on the career field goal list. Reda, a junior, now has 25 for his career.


Indiana’s Marcus Thigpen notched his name in the Indiana record book, finishing the game with 311 all-purpose yards. That qualified him for fourth place on the Hoosiers’ all-time list.

In returning an Illinois kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, he also set a school record and tied one in the Big Ten. That was the third kickoff Thigpen has returned for a touchdown this season, which sets a school record. It ties the Big Ten record for kickoff returns for touchdown.

“He’s a very, very good returner, and that’s all that can be said,” Illinois kicker Jason Reda said. “He had great blocking form, and they’re just a good return team.”


Safety Kevin Mitchell recorded one solo tackle and three assists before leaving the game with bruised ribs. Mitchell, who led the Illini in tackling last season and is at the top of the pack this year, tried to return to the game but ultimately missed much of the second half.


“What happened today was a brutal, tragic, awful lesson. It’s a great lesson, but it’s awfully painful. It was painful for the players. It was painful for the coaches. It was painful for our great fans.”

– Ron Zook