CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois dominated on both sides of the ball to win its Week Zero opener for the second straight season, taking down Wyoming, 38-6, at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Illini opened the game with a bang on their first drive of the season. Junior Chase Brown took his first carry of the season 38 yards up the right sideline before senior Tommy DeVito connected with Brown for 14-yard touchdown pass one play later on his first pass attempt as an Illini.
After the Cowboys got on the board via a field goal, the Illini capitalized on two big Chase Brown carries to find the end zone once again. Brown eclipsed 100 yards on the day on the drive, which pushed him over 2,000 career rushing yards. Back-to-back short completions eventually led to an 11-yard touchdown rush from Brown, his second score of the day.
Junior Devon Witherspoon recorded his third career interception on the next drive and returned the pick 40 yards to ultimately set up a 27-yard field goal from junior Caleb Griffin, the second of his career.
Illinois headed into halftime with a 17-3 lead and over 250 yards of total offense, headlined by Brown’s 139 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
The Illini extended their lead late in the third quarter on an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped off by a six-yard Pat Bryant touchdown, the first score of his college career. The touchdown pushed the Illinois lead to three scores, 24-6, with under three minutes to play in the third quarter.
The defense produced a big fourth-down stop on the next drive, and the offense went right back to work. Starting from the Wyoming 44, Illinois quickly and efficiently moved down the field, needing just five plays to find the end zone. Two long pass completions set up a 5-yard Brown carry, his third touchdown of the afternoon, to extend the Illini advantage to 31-6.
Sophomore Reggie Love III joined in on the fun on the next Illinois drive, ending a 7-play, 70-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown run, his first collegiate rushing score, to move the Illini edge to 38-6 with under seven minutes to play.