2011 Illinois Fighting Illini football team

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2011 Illinois Fighting Illini football
Fighting Illini logo.svg
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Champions
Conference Big Ten Conference
Leaders Division
2011 record 7–6 (2–6 Big Ten)
Head coach Ron Zook
(fired November 27, 2011)
Vic Koenning
(interim)
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino
Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning
Home stadium Memorial Stadium
(Capacity: 60,670)
Seasons
« 2010 2012 »
2011 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Legends Division
#11 Michigan State x   7 1         11 3  
#12 Michigan %   6 2         11 2  
#24 Nebraska   5 3         9 4  
Iowa   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   3 5         6 7  
Minnesota   2 6         3 9  
Leaders Division
#10 Wisconsin xy$   6 2         11 3  
Penn State x   6 2         9 4  
Purdue   4 4         7 6  
Ohio State   3 5         6 7  
Illinois   2 6         7 6  
Indiana   0 8         1 11  
Championship: Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 39
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of January 10, 2012; Rankings from AP Poll

The 2011 Illinois Fighting Illini football team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Fighting Illini, who were led during the regular season by seventh-year head coach Ron Zook, are members of the Big Ten Conference in the Legends Division and played their home games at Memorial Stadium. Zook was fired after the team lost the final six games of its regular season.[1] Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was appointed as interim head coach led the team in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. On December 9, Illinois hired Tim Beckman as their new permanent head coach.

The Illini set a record that season, becoming the first NCAA FBS team to start their season off 6–0, but finish 6–6. The team's failure was largely due to the weakness of their schedule, with just four of their six wins coming against teams that ended up going to a bowl game (Arizona State, Arkansas State, Northwestern, and Western Michigan). All of their six losses came against Big Ten Conference opponents.

Before the team's appearance in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, nearly all of their assistant coaches were fired, as well as head coach Ron Zook.

The 2011 season ended with a 7–6 overall record, 2–6 in Big Ten play to finish 5th in Leaders Division, with a victory over UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 3 2:30 PM Arkansas State* Memorial StadiumChampaign, IL BTN W 33–15   45,154[2]
September 10 11:00 AM South Dakota State* Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL BTN W 56–3   42,212[2]
September 17 6:00 PM No. 22 Arizona State* Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL BTN W 17–14   50,843[2]
September 24 2:30 PM Western Michigan* No. 24 Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL BTN W 23–20   43,684[2]
October 1 11:00 AM Northwesterndagger No. 22 Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL (Land of Lincoln Trophy) ESPN2 W 38–35   53,243[2]
October 8 1:30 PM at Indiana No. 19 Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN BTN W 41–20   41,665[2]
October 15 2:30 PM Ohio State No. 16 Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL (Illibuck) ABC/ESPN L 7–17   55,229[2]
October 22 11:00 AM at Purdue No. 23 Ross-Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN (Purdue Cannon) ESPN2 L 14–21   45,146[2]
October 29 2:30 PM at No. 19 Penn State Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA ABC/ESPN2 L 7–10   97,828[3]
November 12 2:30 PM No. 22 Michigan Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL ABC/ESPN L 14–31   60,670[2]
November 19 11:00 AM No. 15 Wisconsin Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL ESPN2 L 17–28   54,633[2]
November 26 2:30 PM at Minnesota TCF Bank StadiumMinneapolis, MN BTN L 7–27   41,549[2]
December 31 12:30 PM vs. UCLA* AT&T ParkSan Francisco, CA (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl) ESPN W 20–14   29,878[4]
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time[5].

Game notes[edit]

Arkansas State[edit]

Arkansas State at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Arkansas State 0 8 0 7 15
Illinois 7 10 13 3 33

Illinois opened the year at home for the first time since 2006. The opener was the first of eight home games for the Illini. After a slow start and falling behind 8–7 with 2:50 left in the 2nd quarter, the Illini scored a touchdown and a late field goal to take a 17 8 halftime lead. The offense continued to roll in the 2nd half as Illinois extended the lead to win the contest 33 15.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led the Illini offense, finishing 16 for 23 on pass attempts totaling in 267 yards and two touchdowns. A.J. Jenkins was a favorite target for Scheelhaase, grabbing 11 receptions for 148 yards and 1 TD. Darius Millines also hauled in a TD and finished with 119 yards on 5 receptions. Jason Ford led the rushing attack with 86 yards on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns.

South Dakota State[edit]

South Dakota State at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
South Dakota State 0 3 0 0 3
Illinois 21 14 14 7 56

Arizona State[edit]

Arizona State at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
#22 Arizona State 7 0 0 7 14
Illinois 10 0 0 7 17

Western Michigan[edit]

Western Michigan at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Western Michigan 3 10 0 7 20
#24 Illinois 7 3 10 3 23

Northwestern[edit]

Northwestern at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Northwestern 0 14 14 7 35
#24 Illinois 7 3 7 21 38

[6]

Indiana[edit]

Illinois at Indiana
1 2 3 4 Total
#19 Illinois 14 13 7 7 41
Indiana 10 3 0 7 20

Ohio State[edit]

Ohio State at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Ohio State 3 0 7 7 17
#16 Illinois 0 0 0 7 7

Purdue[edit]

Illinois at Purdue
1 2 3 4 Total
#23 Illinois 0 0 0 14 14
Purdue 7 14 0 0 21

[7]

Penn State[edit]

Illinois at Penn State
1 2 3 4 Total
Illinois 0 0 7 0 7
#19 Penn State 0 0 0 10 10

Michigan[edit]

Michigan at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
#22 Michigan 7 7 3 14 31
Illinois 0 0 7 7 14

Wisconsin[edit]

Wisconsin at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Wisconsin 0 7 14 7 28
Illinois 0 17 0 0 17

Minnesota[edit]

Illinois at Minnesota
1 2 3 4 Total
Illinois 0 0 7 0 7
Minnesota 0 20 7 0 27

UCLA (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)[edit]

Illinois at Bruins
1 2 3 4 Total
Illinois 0 3 7 10 20
Bruins 0 7 0 7 14

The Bruins, with a losing record, were granted a waiver to play in a bowl game by the NCAA on November 30, 2011 since their seventh loss was played in the post-season Pac-12 Championship Game.[8] The Bruins will be coached by interim head coach Mike Johnson, who replaced Rick Neuheisel.

Second Quarter scoring: UCLA – Taylor Embree 16-yard pass from Kevin Prince (Tyler Gonzalez kick); ILL – Derek Dimke 36-yard field goal

Third Quarter scoring: ILL – T. Hawthorne 39-yard interception return (Dimke kick)

Fourth Quarter scoring: ILL – Dimke 37-yard field goal; ILL – A. J. Jenkins 60-yard pass from N. Scheelhaase (Dimke kick); UCLA – Nelson Rosario 38-yard pass from Prince (Gonzalez kick)

Rankings[edit]

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP NR NR NR 24 24 19 16 23 RV NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 
Coaches' NR NR NR RV 22 16 15 21 RV NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 
Harris Not released 14 20 RV NR NR NR NR NR NR Not released 
BCS Not released 23 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR Not released


References[edit]

  1. ^ Goudie, Chuck (November 28, 2011). "Big Price Tag Attached to Zook's Firing". WLS (Chicago). Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Cumulative Season Statistics". University of Illinois Department of Athletics. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Box Score". ESPN. October 29, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ Harris, Flint (December 23, 2011). "2011-2012 Bowl Game Attendance". HolyTurf. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ "2011-2012 Schedule". University of Illinois Department of Athletics. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Illinois Completes Comeback in Final Minute to Defeat Rival Northwestern". ESPN. October 1, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Purdue Boilermakers Box Score". ESPN. October 22, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ UCLA Bowl Waiver Approved By NCAA , UCLABruins.com, November 30, 2011