Iowa 59, Illinois 0
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) _ Chuck Long threw four touchdown passes, including two in a 35-point first- quarter outburst, to set Big Ten Conference season and career records as sixth-ranked Iowa blitzed Illinois 59-0 Saturday.
Long also had a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter as Iowa, bouncing back from a 22-13 loss to Ohio State, stormed to a 49-0 halftime lead and sent its record to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten. It was the most points ever scored in one half by an Iowa team and the Hawkeyes most lopsided victory over Illinois.
Long hit Robert Smith on touchdown bombs of 49 and 43 yards in the first quarter and fired scoring strikes of one yard to Mike Flagg and eight yards to Scott Helverson in the second period. He left the game midway through the third quarter after completing 22 of 30 passes for 289 yards.
Fullback David Hudson scored on runs of one and 10 yards in the first quarter and tailback Ronnie Harmon raced 46 yards for another touchdown.
The four touchdown passes gave Long 25 for the season and 72 in his career. Purdue’s Mark Herrmann and Mike Phipps shared the old Big Ten season record of 23 and Herrmann held the previous career mark of 71.
Long is the Big Ten career total offense leader and needs 341 passing yards in the final two games to break Herrmann’s career mark of 9,946.
Illinois, 4-4-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the league, contributed to its undoing by committing six first-half turnovers, three of which Iowa converted into touchdowns. Iowa intercepted four of Jack Trudeau’s passes, the first coming on his second throw of the day, to end the Illinois quarterback’s NCAA record string of passes without an interception at 215.
Illinois, suffering it’s worst defeat since losing to Chicago 63-0 in 1906, did not cross midfield in the first half. Trudeau finished with 26 completions in 47 attempts for 208 yards.
Long wasted no time getting Iowa on the scoreboard, marching the Hawkeyes 80 yards to a touchdown following the opening kickoff. On the sixth play of the drive, Smith beat Illinois cornerback Lance Harkey on a deep pattern down the middle and Long hit him with a perfect pass for a 49-yard scoring play with only 3:06 gone in the game.
Illinois wide receiver David Williams fumbled on a reverse on the Illini’s first play after the ensuing kickoff and Hap Peterson recovered for Iowa at the Illinois 19. Four plays later, Hudson dove into the end zone from the 1.
Iowa’s Jay Norvell intercepted Trudeau on the third play of Illinois’ next possession, giving the Hawkeyes the ball at their 46. After three running plays, Smith got behind Illinois safety Craig Swoope and Long hit him with a 43-yard touchdown pass, making it 21-0 with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
Iowa’s defense then forced Illinois to punt after three plays and Iowa went 64 yards in five plays, making it 28-0 on Harmon’s 46-yard burst up the middle. Illinois then had to punt again and Hudson’s 10-yard TD run with 59 seconds left in the quarter capped a 62-yard, seven-play drive.
After that, the only question was whether Long would get the Big Ten records. He set the season touchdown pass record and tied the career mark with his 1-yarder to Flagg with 5:16 left in the second quarter.
Less than three minutes later, Rick Schmidt intercepted a Trudeau pass and returned it 33 yards to the Illinois 8. On Iowa’s first play, Long drilled a pass to Helverson in the back of the end zone to become the Big Ten career leader in touchdown passes.
Iowa got its only points in the second half on Rob Houghtlin’s 37-yard field goal and Grant Goodman’s 16-yard TD run, both in the fourth quarter.
Illinois, which attempted a Kinnick Stadium record 58 passes, was in Iowa territory only twice and never got closer to the Hawkeyes’ goal line than the 36. That drive, which came on the Illini’s first possession of the third quarter, ended with a punt to the Iowa 1.
Long promptly drove Iowa to the Illinois 21, but the threat ended when the Illini’s Mark Kelly interceped a pass in the end zone. Long then went to the sidelines for the rest of the game.
Trudeau hiked his career passing yardage total to 7,799 yards in moving past Purdue’s Scott Campbell into third place on the Big Ten list. He also moved into fourth place in career total offense.